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Domestic Violence Victims and Divorce

 Posted on August 21, 2014 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.

It is also important to file for a restraining order. In Illinois, there are three types of restraining orders available:

  • An emergency order, which can be issued on just the victim’s testimony alone and will be in effect from 14 to 21 days.
  • An interim order, which also does not require a full hearing, but does require that the abuser is notified of the court date. An interim order is in effect for 30 days.
  • A plenary order, which requires a full hearing and allows both the victim and abuser to testify. A plenary order can be in effect for up to two years and can also be re-issued multiple times.
The most important advice a victim should remember is to never hesitate to call the police if she thinks either she or her children are in danger from an abuser. If you are in an abusive marriage and have made the decision to leave, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to find out about orders of protection and the safest way to go through the divorce process.
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