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According to the Illinois State Police, a woman is beaten in an act of domestic violence every 15 seconds in the United States. Furthermore, the injuries that result from these attacks require more medical attention than injuries from rapes, muggings, and accidents combined. These statistics are particularly frightening when you take into consideration how many incidents of domestic violence go unreported. It is also often more surprising for people to learn that men can be victims of domestic violence as well.
In Illinois, domestic violence is defined as striking, choking, kicking, harassing, threatening, or interfering with the personal liberty of a family member. It can also include forcing a child to watch the abuse or keeping a disabled person from getting care they need. Under the law, a family member includes any of the following:
Current and former spouses;
Children and stepchildren;
Relatives by blood or marriage;
Current and former roommates;
People with children in common;
People who share an alleged or actual blood relationship through a child;
People who are dating or engaged; and
People with disabilities and their assistants and caregivers.
What to Do if You are in an Abusive Relationship?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can protect yourself first and foremost by leaving the abuser. Staying in an abusive relationship can be fatal. To deal with a situation of imminent danger, the first step would be to get to a position of safety and call the police. A more long term solution would be to file for an order of protection.
An order of protection is an order from a judge prohibiting the abuser from doing certain things. For example, he or she may be prohibited from returning to the shared home or contacting the abuse victim in any way. If found violating this order, the abuser can be arrested immediately when the police are called. To file for an order of protection, you should consult an experienced attorney who can assist you with gathering evidence and petitioning the court for the order.
The Other Side: False Accusations Of Domestic Violence
Unfortunately, some people take advantage of the laws and societal attitude towards domestic violence in an attempt to get back at someone else. They do this through falsely accusing a family member of domestic violence in order to get something or to ruin the other person’s reputation. In some cases, a spouse involved in a divorce may falsely claim they are a victim of domestic violence in order to get custody of the children or gain another advantage.
It is possible for someone alleging abuse to get an emergency order of protection without the alleged abuser being notified. If granted, the parties later have to return to court to have a formal hearing to extend the order of protection. It is at this stage that some emergency orders of protection get thrown out once the judges hear the facts and decide the person seeking the order was not truthful. However, in the time before the hearing, the alleged abuser can suffer. For example, they may be ordered to stay away from their home and children. In addition, they may have to get an attorney to defend themselves against further allegations of abuse, and possible criminal charges.
If you find yourself in this situation, your first step should be to contact an attorney who has dealt with these cases before for further advice. You should never take matters into your own hands and try to “work it out” with the accuser. Such a move could lead to further problems.
Contact an Attorney in IllinoisIf you are a victim of domestic violence and need assistance filing for an order of protection, contact the attorneys at Martoccio & Martoccio for a consultation. Or, if you or someone you know has been falsely accused of domestic violence, contact Martoccio & Martoccio and see how our experienced attorneys can zealously defend you against the charges.