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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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DuPage County domestic violence lawyersDomestic violence, which impacts approximately one in three women (and one in four men) is a near silent epidemic. Terrified to leave or speak out, victims often live behind the facade of a happy home, despite being in constant danger. Sadly, the longer they stay in the relationship, the more they risk serious injury or death at the hands of their abuser. Thankfully, there are legal steps that victims can use to protect themselves when they find the strength and courage to leave.

How a Restraining Order Can Protect You and Your Child

Restraining orders are designed to provide legal protections to victims of domestic violence. More specifically, they:

  • Prohibit your abuser from intimidating, harassing, stalking, exploiting, or negatively impacting your personal liberty;
  • Mandate that your abuser stay away from you and anyone else listed on the order of protection;
  • Prohibit your abuser from removing your child from the state, or hiding them away from you within the state;
  • Order your abuser to stay away from your school, place of employment, and other specific places you may frequently visit;
  • Prohibit your abuser from destroying or getting rid of your belongings;
  • Prohibit your abuser from possessing a firearm;
  • Require that your abuser reimburse you for shelter and counseling services (when applicable);
  • Exclude your abuser from the home in which you are living (even when owned or leased by the abuser);
  • Mandate that your abuser return all personal belongings to you;
  • Prohibit your abuser from causing any harm to your child (mentally, physically, or sexually); and
  • Prohibit your abuser from removing a shared child from your physical care. 

Emergency Orders of Protection

While most victims need long-term protection from their abuser, such orders take time to put into place. Emergency orders help to fill the gap by providing immediate protection to the victim. Based solely on the testimony of the victim, these orders can be obtained at any time - even on holidays or at night, when the courts are closed. However, they only offer you protection for 14 to 21 days. Therefore, it is critical that victims begin the process for obtaining a long-term order of protection (known as plenary orders of protection) while the emergency order is still in place. 

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