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Wheaton domestic violence attorneysAccording to data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), as many as one in three women and one in four men will experience at least some level of domestic abuse in their lifetimes. Of those, one in three women and one in nine men will experience severe abuse. As alarming as these statistics are, victims can lead a normal, healthy, and functional life after a violent relationship. The first step is recognizing that there may be a problem. 

Early Signs of Domestic Violence 

Contrary to what some people may believe, abusive relationships rarely start out violent. In fact, most abusers are quite skilled at being charming, and while they may come on strong, their actions and behaviors seem loving and genuine. In time, things change and these early signs of domestic violence start to emerge, such as:

  • The abuser wrongfully accusing the victim of cheating or flirting;
  • The abuser losing their temper and throwing or breaking things;
  • The abuser attempting to impose stereotypical gender roles;
  • The abuser accusing the victim of changing and blaming their actions on this;
  • The abuser being unreasonably jealous of friends, co-workers, and other family members;
  • The abuser attempting to isolate the victim from their social circle;
  • The abuser telling the victim that everyone else is bad for them;
  • The abuser making excuses after losing their temper;
  • The abuser referring to their cruelty as a “joking;”
  • The abuser pressuring the victim into sexual activities;
  • The abuser attempting to control money, transportation, or internet and cell phone usage; or
  • The abuser going through the victim’s phone or personal belongings, looking for “evidence.” 

Signs the Abuse is Progressing 

Once the abuser has a foothold, the violence may escalate. Rather than simply yell or throw things, they may pinch, bite, shove, or slap the victim. Once the physical aspects start, the cycle becomes more vicious, often to the point that victims will do anything to avoid setting off their abuser. 

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Statistics show that an excess of one hundred thousand residents of Illinois are directly impacted by domestic violence every year. Illinois is taking big steps to change the way that both the offenders and victims are handled. TheresaGovernor Pat Quinn signed four separate bills that will become effective January 1, 2014. These new laws are designed to not only hand down stiffer punishments to the offender, but to prevent the violence from happening at all. The first bill addresses the issue of repeat offenders of domestic violence. Today, crimes in this category are considered misdemeanors and so there is not much punishment given. When this law becomes effective, repeat offenders will be charged with a felony. The second law deals with the privacy of the victim. In cases where the victim is covered by medical insurance that is carried by the abuser, there will be new procedures put into place so that the abuser will not be able to obtain information such as the address or other contact information given by the victim. This law recognizes the manipulative nature of many abusers when it comes to finding their victim. The third law extends the deadline for reporting for a task force that is currently developing a program for prevention that is aimed at adolescent and teen violence. The final law is aimed toward schools and the trend of teen dating violence. It requires that the schools educate children about the dangers and signs of dating violence and it also puts new procedures in place that dictate the school staff response. These are big changes for Illinois. If you have been the victim of domestic violence in your relationship, an empathetic and experienced Illinois family law attorney can advise you of the divorce law as it applies to your situation.

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