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Lombard family law attorneyDomestic violence is one of the most common family issues in the United States today, unfortunately, and it has an especially pernicious effect on children. If a parent who has committed domestic violence is permitted to continue seeing his or her children, studies have shown that that child has a greater propensity to perpetuate violence in the future. The state of Illinois considers it a high priority to ensure that children are not exposed to such behavior, and as such, if your spouse has charges or convictions, you may be able to mount a serious challenge to their parental fitness.

Domestic Violence Defined

Illinois’ Domestic Violence Act (DVA) of 1986 defines domestic violence as abuse, both physical and otherwise, as well as “interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.” It also makes a point of identifying a victim as any family or household member, rather than just a spouse. Thus, the law encompasses spouses, but also family members related by blood, people who are (or were) dating or living together, and co-parents of a child who are unmarried. So, for example, if the mother or father of your child abuses you, the DVA still applies in your case, whether you are married or not.

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Posted on in Domestic Violence

Lombard family law attorneysIf you have spent any time on the social media platform Twitter recently, you may be familiar with the hashtag “Maybe He Doesn’t Hit You.” The provocative message seeks to raise awareness about domestic violence—specifically psychological abuse.

Hidden Dangers

Psychological or emotional abuse often does not garner as much attention as physical abuse does. Physical abuse is often easier to spot because the victim may have visible bruises and scars or may need medical attention. Unfortunately, emotional abuse can go unnoticed by others until it becomes extreme. Even worse, many victims might not even realize that they are in an abusive relationship. People who have been victimized in the past or grew up with abusive or neglectful parents may consider certain abusive behavior to be normal. Victims of abuse may believe they deserve this damaging treatment because they are unworthy of more compassionate behavior. By sharing their stories of triumph over psychological abuse, men and women are taking the stigma out of discussing this form of domestic violence. The hashtag—a character used to track trending topics on social media—has been used in posts to share some gut-wrenching examples of psychological abuse, including:

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DuPage County family law attorneysWe have all seen the tropes in movies and on television of regular clients at a beauty salon or barbershop. They come in for their cut, color, or style, and carry on a very familiar conversation with their stylist or barber. Unlike other media depictions, this type of scenario is extremely common in the real world. Many people—and especially women—come to view their regular hairdresser as a trusted friend and confidant. Thanks to a new law in Illinois, that trust will soon take a drastic step forward as licensed beauty workers have been tapped to join the battle against domestic violence.

Measure Amends Current Licensing Laws

Last summer, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill that requires licensed beauty workers—including hairdressers, braiders, barbers, cosmetologists, nail technicians, and others—to participate in domestic violence awareness training as a part of their licensing requirements. Initial training will be required for workers looking to obtain a license for the first time. For those who are currently licensed beauticians, an additional hour of ongoing domestic violence education will be added to the requirements for renewal every two years.

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Lombard domestic violence attorneyDomestic violence cases are, unfortunately, all too common in Illinois. Thousands of Americans are affected by domestic violence each day, and the harmful consequences of do not stop after a victim has been separated from an abuser. Unfortunate after-effects such as low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and post-traumatic stress disorder often plague victims for years after being abused. For this reason, it is important that victims seek help if they are dealing with domestic violence.

Fortunately, victims of domestic violence in Illinois are able obtain an order of protection or a restraining order to get themselves out of harm's way. Many victims, however, suffer silently, afraid or unable to report the abuse inflicted against them. Below are many alarming statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence on the current state of domestic violence in America. Keep in mind that many victims do not report the domestic violence they experience, so many of these numbers may actually be higher.  

Did You Know...

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Lombard family law attorneyOn June 11, 2016, Americans woke up to a tragic news story: 49 individuals were killed by a gunman in an Orlando nightclub. In the wake of this horrific event, there has been much speculation as to the character of the individual responsible for the deaths. In addition to his possible ties to the terrorist organization ISIS, the gunman has a history of domestic violence against his ex-wife. Reports have been emerging in which she says that her husband was both physically and mentally abusive to her prior to their 2009 divorce. He reportedly beat her out of anger when the household chores were not done and barred her from talking to her friends and family. She also said he withheld her paychecks and refused to allow her money. Scared and alone at the hands of her abuser, the woman’s family helped her escape the toxic marriage. 

What Does Domestic Violence Look Like?

Unfortunately, these circumstances are not unique. Over four million women are physically abused by a spouse or significant other every year. The Huffington Post reports that on average one out of four women are victims of violence at the hands of a partner. Domestic violence can take many forms. In addition to physically hurting a victim, abusers will often:

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