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Posted on in Domestic Violence

Lombard family law attorneyThe recent allegations of sexual harassment or rape against many influential individuals have put the issues of harassment and abuse in the spotlight more than ever before. Important people such as President Donald Trump, Senator Al Franken, actors Kevin Spacey and Sylvester Stallone, and film producer Harvey Weinstein have been accused of forcing unwanted sexual contact onto victims. These allegations sparked a fury of media attention and have encouraged more victims of sexual assault to report the crime against them. Time Magazine even dedicated their “Person of the Year” title to “the silence breakers”: those women and men who came out with their own stories of violence, intimidation or harassment. Much of the attention regarding assault and violence has centered around inappropriate sexual encounters between acquaintances or coworkers. Sadly, many men and women who are victims of abuse or assault are suffering at the hands of their own spouse or romantic partner. This type of abuse is called domestic violence, and it is just as serious as any other type of abuse.

Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence or relationship abuse, is defined as a pattern of behaviors used by one person to maintain power and control over their romantic partner. Anyone can be a victim or a perpetrator of domestic violence. Such abuse does not discriminate based on age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Often, women are assumed to be the only victims of domestic violence, but this is not true. Men can also be victims of abuse at the hands of their spouse and other family members. Perpetrators of domestic violence might:

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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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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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Posted on in Domestic Violence

domestic abuse, Lombard family lawyersYou can probably name at least one, if not more than one, male friend or acquaintance that has been the victim of emotional abuse by his spouse or romantic partner. If not, you have been probably witnessed such abuse in a public or social setting: a man and his partner are out together, but the conversation is very one-sided. His girlfriend or wife makes derogatory or snide comments about his clothes, behavior, or choices. As the night goes on, the situation gets worse, with the woman blatantly scolding him, as he endures it silently.

While there is no question that male-against-female abuse is a scourge on today’s society, many have become conditioned to ignore such behavior in reverse. Of course, part of the problem is the militant, often misogynistic, "men’s rights" groups whose awareness efforts can be little more than thinly-veiled attacks on women. However, the reality is that men can most definitely be victims of domestic abuse, including physical violence and mental or emotional attacks.

Unwillingness to Come Forward

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domestic violence, orders of protection, Lombard family law attorneyWhen you or your child is the victim of domestic violence, it is easy to feel alone and completely helpless. You want to escape the situation and get your child to safety, buy you may not know how or where to go. In many such cases, the most important first step is to place a legal barrier between yourself and your abuser by petitioning the court for an emergency order of protection.

How to Get an Emergency Order

The process of requesting an emergency order of protection is quite simple. You may file your petition for an order of protection with the court of the county in which are living or where you are currently located due to safety concerns. Your petition may alternatively be filed in the county where your abuser lives or where the abuse took place. In the event that your circumstances require an emergency order at a time when the appropriate court is closed—such as a weekend or holiday—you may file your petition with any available circuit court judge or associate judge.

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endangerment, illinois courts, Lombard family law attorneyIn 2003, headlines around the country told the tragic story of three small children who drowned while trapped inside a car after it rolled into a lake in central Illinois. The children’s mother and her boyfriend were subsequently charged with first-degree murder, when the story they told about being unable to free the children did not hold up to investigative scrutiny. The boyfriend was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, while the mother was convicted of child endangerment and served five years in prison. Now, the woman is back in a Cook County court, looking to regain custody of the three children she had since her release.

New Name, Same Concerns

Since her imprisonment, the beleaguered woman has changed her last name, a development that allegedly caused child welfare officials to be slow to realize that she had started a new family. When the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) came to the realization that she was the same person whose children had drowned, the agency began looking closely at the situation, eventually removing the new children last year. Prosecutors in Cook County are concerned that the woman’s current decision-making is similar to that of her past, and that she is likely to put her children at risk again.

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domestic abuse, false allegations, Arlington Heights Family Law AttorneyIn far too many American homes, domestic violence is a major concern, wreaking havoc on both the physical and emotional health of the victim. In the face of such actions, healthy relationships are virtually impossible. Justifiably, accusations of domestic abuse are taken very seriously by law enforcement and government agencies. During a divorce or other domestic proceedings, unfortunately, it is possible for one partner to try to take advantage of the system by making false allegations of abuse.

It can difficult for most people to fathom making unfounded accusations of criminal activity against anyone, especially their spouse. For those who do, however, they are often attempting to manipulate the law in their favor, usually related to property division or child custody. Most states’ child custody laws, including Illinois, include clauses that take violent acts or the danger of violence into consideration. The existence of an allegation or an order of protection may be all it takes to keep a parent from significant time with his or her children. While the safety of the children should certainly be paramount, no parent deserves to lose time with his or her children over fraudulent accusations. Accusations with no basis in fact often take the accused completely by surprise. He or she is often left feeling angry, betrayed, and overwhelmed. There are a few things that anyone accused of domestic violence can do, especially if the allegations are false: Stay Away from the Accuser

Being alone with the person who brought the initial allegations all provides further opportunity for new ones. By keeping a safe distance away, or by maintaining the buffer of witnesses, the accused will not be create the risk of additional false charges.

Remain Civil

Despite the stress and emotional difficulty a falsely accused person must be experiencing, it is very important to make every effort at staying calm and civil, particular in any communication with the accuser. Angry outbursts, sharp criticisms, or even sarcastic offhand comments can exponentially worsen the situation. It is also worth remembering that virtually all electronic communication, such as emails, text message, or Facebook posts, can eventually find their way into a courtroom proceeding. Extreme caution is recommended when communicating online with anyone, especially with the accuser.

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domestic violence programThe Chicago Police Department responds to almost 500 domestic violence calls every day. In 2013, approximately 1,500 of those calls involved aggravated domestic battery, where the abuser attacked his or her victim with a gun, knife, or other dangerous weapon.

The City of Chicago recently expanded a pilot domestic violence program that has been in effect since last year. The program takes a more proactive response approach by police, prosecutors and social services agencies and providers.

The program was first introduced to the Chicago Police Department’s 14th Division. The aim of the program is to enable law enforcement to identify households which may be at an elevated risk of domestic violence and serious injuries in order to coordinate a rapid response. An assessment form was developed which asks questions that help determine if a victim is at elevated risk of injury. Patrol officers use these assessment forms when responding to domestic violence calls. If the victim’s answers indicate a serious risk, the department has put protocols in place which activates an immediate investigation.

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Posted on in Divorce

domestic violence victimThe domestic violence statistics in this country are staggering.

  • In the U.S., more than three women are murdered every day by their husbands or significant other.
  • The leading of cause of injury to women in this country is domestic violence. More women receive injuries from battering than they do from the total combined injuries from muggings, rapes and car accidents.
  • One in four women will be a domestic violence victim sometime during their lifetime.
  • There are 4 million physical assaults and rapes on women by their partners every year.

 According to other statistics, when a battered wife makes the decision to leave her husband and either leaves and/or begins divorce proceedings, this can be a major instigator for domestic violence. There can be a significant escalation in incidents of violence after the wife leaves the abuser. More than three-fourths of emergency room visits by battered women occur after they leave their abuser. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that abused women who leave their husbands are at a 75 percent greater risk of serious injury or death than women who stay.  A battered woman is at the greatest risk in the two weeks after she files for divorce.

It is imperative that a battered woman have an exit plan before she actually leaves or files for divorce, and even more so if she has children. The first thing a battered woman must have is a safe place to stay when she leaves the home. It is best to actually be already settled there when the batterer is told about the divorce so the woman does not have to return to the marital home for any reason. Additionally, it is best that the news of the breakup be given to the batterer in a public place.

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Illinois domestic violenceAny one instance of domestic abuse is one too many, and for those residing in Illinois, the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 (750 ILCS 60) provides the basis for protection. Generally, any instance of physical, emotional or interference with one’s personal liberty at the hand of a family or household member is a crime and will be prosecuted as such. Although often, domestic violence crimes go unreported.

The Chicago Foundation for Women is fighting to put an end to domestic violence through Illinois statute and education. If you are a victim of any type of domestic violence, the following information may prove helpful. You may also consider contacting an experienced Illinois family law attorney to discuss your legal rights under Illinois law.

Staggering Statistics

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There are many kinds of abusive relationships.  The most obvious type of domestic abuse is violent behavior like hitting, kicking and yelling.  But there are other ways that a spouse’s behavior can be covertly abusive.  Passive aggressive spouses can be just as disruptive to a marriage as outwardly abusive spouses.

Passive aggressive behavior is used to avoid conflicts, suppress feelings of anger or try to control a situation.  It is covert because it can mask emotions and feelings to a point that the person’s behavior may seem nice at times.

Since passive aggressive behavior can be hidden, it is helpful to know what the typical traits are of a passive aggressive person.  Identifying the behavior is the first step to stopping the destructive cycle of hurtful actions and words.

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Posted on in Domestic Violence

Abusive relationships have been around as long as relationships have been around. The reason that there are more statistics about abusive relationships today, is that in the past is that the abused victims today are doing something about it. People are not taking the abuse and there are others outside of these relationships to help them get out.

LucyIt’s not easy, once you are in an abusive relationship, to get out. The best option is to stay away from abusers all together. But how do you know if your new significant other is going to abuse you? Usually, you don’t, and that’s why so many people get stuck.

DomesticViolence.org helps to explain who these abusers are and how to spot them:

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LaraDomestic violence is an uncomfortable subject to discuss, but it is one that is unfortunately very common.  When people hear the term "domestic violence", they imagine drunken men hitting their helpless wives or girlfriends…but there are many other psychological and emotional factors involved.

To understand domestic violence, we must first know what "abuse" entails.  According to the Illinois State Police, abuse can include the following:

  • Physical abuse
  • Harassment
  • Making a child or other person watch abuse
  • Forcing you to do something you don’t want to do
  • Denying a disabled person access to needed care

Every 15 seconds, a woman in the United States is beaten by an abusive partner.  More often than not, these attacks require medical attention.  In about 95 percent of partner abuse situations, it is the man who is abusing the woman.  But in 5% of cases, it is the other way around.  Unfortunately, when children are raised in homes where violence is prevalent, they generally grow up to believe that violence is the only way to properly control another person.

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According to CBS Chicago, in the upcoming year, there is going to be a new shelter in the Chicago Lawn area for domestic violence victims. Agency officials stated that there has been a large amount of calls for help in that area and that presently there is just nowhere for the victims to seek shelter. TheresaThe occurrences of domestic violence statistics are staggering and it happens more often than people realize. In fact, some divorce mediation programs report that up to 80 percent of divorces cite some kind of domestic violence as a reason for the divorce filing. In Chicago, there is a specific procedure used for handling divorce mediation where domestic violence is reported. Each party named in the divorce wait in separated waiting areas while filling out a 14-question written interview regarding safety concerns. The parties are then interviewed privately to screen for domestic violence. Each party is also escorted separately from the building by security guards. Domestic violence incidences are taken seriously because of the possible grievous consequences. Many states do have different procedures in dealing with domestic violence divorces such as waiving the cohabitation clause. Some states do require that a divorcing couple live apart for a predetermined amount of time before the court will grant the divorce. Domestic violence is also a serious consideration when it comes to issues of child custody and visitation. A parent that has a history of domestic violence may be limited to supervised visitation sessions for the protection of the children. If you are a victim of domestic violence and you are seeking a divorce, you need to hire an empathetic and informed Illinois family law attorney to ensure the safety and protect the interests of you and your children.

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net

Posted on in Divorce

KerryWhen couples hit problems in a relationship, many times they try to work through them before they make the decision to divorce. However, for a spouse that is in an abusive relationship, staying in the marriage can be dangerous. Whether it’s physical, emotional, mental or financial, everyone should know the warning signs of abuse.

  • Physical violence is one way abuser’s use to control their spouse. Typically, they will strike their victim on parts of the body that can be covered up with clothing. 
  • Threats are another way abusers use to control and intimidate their victims. Threatening to harm the victim, the children, pets, family members or friends. Or threatening to withhold money or other resources. 
  • Extreme jealousy is a sign of insecurity and lack of trust, but an abuser will say it’s proof of their love. Accusations of flirting, or even infidelity, all unfounded, are used as an excuse for physical or emotional violence.
  • Controlling behavior is another form of abuse. The abuser makes all the decisions, from the most important to the mundane. The abuser also checks up on everything the victim does, such as phone calls, emails, text messages, etc. Some abusers even check odometers of the victims’ cars to make sure they are only driving where they are allowed to. 
  • Emotional abuse takes on the form of insults and name-calling. The abuser does this to lower the victim’s self-esteem, making it that much easier for the abuser to maintain control.

If you have been a victim of spousal abuse and are considering a divorce, take the steps to protect yourself. Consult with an experienced Illinois divorce attorney who can help you take the steps to get out of a bad and dangerous marriage.

During a verbal argument in 2011, Quinzeric D. Span resorted to violence against his girlfriend.  Elgin authorities claimed that Span not only attacked his girlfriend in an Elgin residence near the 400 block of Chicago Street, but also in a car while being driven around Elgin by a third party.

This attack ended when the woman escaped the vehicle while it was stopped at a stop-light.  She ran away from her attacker at the intersection of North Grove Avenue and Seneca Street.  But she did not escape the beating unscathed.  She suffered a broken orbital bone near her eye and a perforated eardrum.

Span was taken into custody to await trial at the Kane County jail.  While he was jailed, he successfully communicated with his girlfriend over the phone.  Records show that since he was in prison, Span placed over 450 phone calls to the woman, against a court order preventing him from doing so.  Authorities claim that this was an attempt to stop her from testifying against him.

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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