Domestic violence is now considered a widespread issue in the USA, and a fast-growing problem in Australia. Statistics shows that 17 per cent of women and 6 per cent of men have experienced violence by a partner. There are existing laws that protect the rights of victims and enable them to receive justice. Here is some information that can help you take the right steps when you feel you’re a victim of domestic violence.
How do you know if you are a victim?
Domestic violence is the act of making a partner in a relationship feel powerless, scared and/or unsafe. This can be done through physical or psychological abuse and can happen to people of any age, culture, or gender. Domestic violence affects not just the victim but also the people around or close to them, particularly their children and immediate family members. Here are some of the actions that qualify as domestic violence.
- Physical. When your partner threatens to hurt you, a loved one or your pets, and/or smashes objects around you in an attempt to scare you. When they assault you by hitting, kicking, biting, slapping, shaking and pushing. Interruption of sleep or meals is also considered a form of physical violence.
- Emotional and Psychological. When your partner humiliates you in front of another person or blatantly blames you using uncivil words. When they sow seeds of doubt in you, which can also include detention without trial, false accusations, false convictions and extreme defamation, as they inflict emotional and psychological damage as well.
- Financial. When your partner conceals critical financial information, limits your access to assets that you co-own, and/or reduces your accessibility to the family finances.
- Verbal. When your partner forcefully criticises, insults, denounces, name calls, and yells at you both privately and in public. Even refusal to share information that are vital in a relationship, such as ideas, feelings, intimacy, thoughts and dreams are all considered a form of verbal abuse.
- Social. When your partner monitors your phone calls and emails, decides which friends and family members you can talk to, criticises your friends and family, prevents you from meeting the neighbours, or moves you to a distant place so you cannot reach or contact your family or friends.
- Sexual. When your partner rapes you or forces you to have sex without protection, withholds sex as a form of punishment, or even uses sex to force you to comply to a certain demand.
- Stalking. When your partner follows you wherever you go, appears at your home or workplace for no apparent reason, sends pesky texts or emails, or make unnecessary phone calls to scare you. Vandalising your property to let you know you are being watched or followed also qualifies as a form of stalking.
- Spiritual or Cultural. When your partner disparages and insults your spiritual or cultural worth, beliefs or practices, violates your practices, denies your access to your spiritual and cultural community, and forces their own spiritual and cultural beliefs and practices on you.
What to Do When You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence
Many continue to suffer domestic violence for three reasons—they don’t know they are a victim, they don’t know what to do, or they are scared to take action. If you are a victim of domestic violence, don’t think twice to seek protection and justice. The first thing you need to do is to find a way to seek help.
Legal assistance from a law firm that specialises in Family Law. Lapointe Family Law in Sydney is different from other law firms because apart from legal assistance, they have also partnered with specialists who help individuals with the pressure and stress of family disputes regain strength and stability.