If you think you are a victim of domestic violence, you’re not in this alone. Many people who are victimized spend time making excuses for the person who is hurting them. But…
You did nothing to deserve this.
In Florida domestic violence is defined as: “…any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”
Signs of Domestic Violence (It’s More than You Think)
The legal definition is broad but as mentioned above hitting is not the only form the violence can take. Domestic violence can be sexual in nature, verbal, or take on other forms of physical abuse like shoving, slapping, hair pulling etc.
Many people are surprised that domestic violence can also entail injuring the family pet, unwanted controlling of your money, withholding medical help, and/or threatening suicide if you left.
If your partner is abusive in any way, don’t wait for the next incident. Do something about it now. Domestic violence doesn’t go away on its own and generally becomes more abusive over time.
Next Steps if You’re a Victim of Domestic Violence
- Call 911 and report the incident. If the incident was a while ago, create a written history of every time an incident has happened.
- Seek medical attention as needed. Document your injuries. Take pictures.
- Assemble a support system. We recommend a friend/family member, a domestic violence support group (like the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence), and an attorney. Your friend or family member will help you through it emotionally, a group can help you figure out next steps and ways to get out of the situation, and an attorney can file the necessary injunctions and protective orders needed to keep you safe. If you’ve had enough, the attorney can also help you start divorce proceedings.
- File a protective order keeping your partner away from you and your children, if applicable. Violation of a protective order (just by being present within the distance it stipulates) is a criminal offense. Protective orders can be issued for any living arrangements. You do not need to be married to be eligible, merely at risk for continued violence. A protective or restraining order not only orders the person to stop abusing you or threatening you with violence, it also can require the abuser receive counseling or other social services.
- Consider counseling on your own. This is not your fault and you are not alone. Find someone who is skilled in this area.
If Violence Continues
Domestic violence rarely stops on its own. The perpetrator must either seek counseling to stop or the cycle can be broken by leaving the home and seeking assistance from others. Still for many abusers, this is a cyclical pattern that will continue with someone new.
If your protective order is broken, call the police immediately. Then call your attorney. This is a crime.
If you have questions about domestic violence or know it’s time to get help, call The Law Office of Dean Tsourakis, an experienced domestic violence attorney. There’s no reason for you to feel trapped in your situation. The consultation is free and confidential.on Apr 16, 2015