Oftentimes clients come into our office with no awareness that domestic violence is more than just physical abuse. Many people are unknowing of the reality that they have either been victims or perpetrators of domestic violence for years. People resort to several types of behavior to exert control over an intimate partner or loved one, including emotional abuse, threats, isolation, and intimidation, which each constitute forms of domestic violence. Domestic violence can also take the form of economic abuse such as when a person tries to keep an intimate partner from getting or keeping a job, making a loved one ask for money, imposing on them "an allowance" or cutting off their access to money. If children are involved in the relationship, a person may use the children to make the other partner feel guilty, threaten to take the children away, use the children to give messages and use visitation as a way to harass. These are all examples of intimidation and control which may qualify as domestic violence.
A perpetrator of domestic violence may attempt to minimize or deny these behaviors by making light of the victim's concerns regarding these behaviors, but these types of behaviors should be taken seriously. Domestic violence is not well-enough known as the epidemic that it is. Many people are surprised to find out that domestic violence has become such a widespread problem that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) classify domestic violence as an epidemic.
If you are engaged in domestic violence as either a victim or an aggressor, it is essential that you seek help sooner than later. Families need to seek counseling and maintain a safe environment for all of its members. As a victim, your safety both psychologically and physically is at stake. If you have children, there are long-term repercussions growing up in a household where they are exposed to repeated acts of domestic violence.
The State of New Jersey takes domestic violence very seriously. New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act provides legal recourse and protection for victims of domestic violence. On the other hand, if you have been accused of domestic violence, it is very important that you understand the proceedings and potential consequences ahead of you. It cannot be understated that time is most certainly of the essence. If you have been accused of domestic violence, whether truly or falsely, then you need to consult with an attorney immediately. The timeline for domestic violence proceedings is much shorter than that of other court proceedings. Further, apart from the legal ramifications of the accusations, perpetrators of domestic violence need to make use of available resources in the form of counseling and therapy in order to address this very serious issue and improve the welfare of themselves and their loved ones.
Whether you are a victim or an accused aggressor, an experienced divorce and family law attorney will assist you in understanding just what domestic violence is, advise you of your rights, and will obtain the protection you deserve and assist you in pursuing your best course of action.