By Janet Howard
Domestic abuse always seems to increase during the holiday season, the week of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, as families and couples spend more time together at home. Coupled with Coronavirus lockdown measures, too, have led to increased incidences of abuse as couples and families are further isolated from the outside world. Now, advocates are concerned that a combination of the two will have dire consequences.
Also, social distancing measures have also made it more difficult for victims of abuse to seek help and remove themselves from abusive relationships. Thus, counseling, shelters for battered women and other outreach programs are more crucial than ever.
While nearly everyone will busy with family, for some other people, the holidays are just another reason to remain in isolation. They’re not hiding by choice though. They live in isolation out of fear for their safety. That’s because unlike friends and families, domestic abuse doesn’t stop and take a break during the holidays. Unless a victim does something about it, domestic abuse can continue from Thanksgiving until far beyond New Year’s Day.
Defining Domestic Abuse
While each state has its own definition of domestic abuse, they’re in general agreement that it can consist of a single isolated incident or a pattern of harassing, threatening, intimidating, or violent behavior toward intimate or former intimate partners, household members or family members. Gender and sexual preference are irrelevant. Some typical examples of domestic abuse would be emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual aggression along with financial exploitation.
Domestic Violence Orders
A court order commonly known as an order of protection, a domestic violence or restraining order can be sought and entered when a person has been a victim of domestic abuse. A court might even enter an order if an individual has a reasonable fear of domestic violence. Along with other protections, the rules operate to prevent an abuser from contacting a protected person either directly or indirectly by phone, email, or through a third party. The orders can also prohibit the abuser from coming near the home, place of employment or school of any protected person. Any violation of an active domestic violence order can be prosecutable in the criminal courts. Conviction comes with the possibility of a jail sentence.
Victims of physical or sexual abuse need only dial 911. When the abuser is under arrest, arrangements can be made for an appropriate order and then leaving. By moving, the risk of further domestic violence is reduced drastically. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s likely to provide a victim and his or her children an opportunity to heal both physically and emotionally. Resources are out there for victims of domestic violence. A trusted friend, relative, police officer, or attorney can get you pointed in the right direction. They all want to see you and your children healthy and happy again.
Immigrants and Domestic Violence
Immigrants in the US. have the right to live life free of abuse. Due to the victim’s immigration status, abusive partners have additional ways to exert power and control over their victims. If you are an immigrant or refugee in an abusive relationship, you may face unique issues that make it hard to reach out for help. A specialized immigration attorney should always be your first point of contact when it comes to immigration questions and concerns. You can also listen to Ask the Lawyer Radio Program on WVIP 93.5FM on Thursdays, 10pm-11pm and Sundays, 11pm to 12am. The program provides great information and also an opportunity for a FREE, no obligation legal consultation. The number to call is 855-768- 8845. You can also visit www.askthelawyer.us. Domestic violence is against the law regardless of one’s immigration status. Be a loving family member, good friend, and caring neighbor: please share this information.