Reportedly, domestic abuse cases have risen globally. In fact, statistics show that the number of cases increases during natural disasters and periods of high unemployment.
The anxiety and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic surrounding finances, health, job loss, and the “stay at home” orders will inevitably have an impact on an already volatile situation, causing it to escalate. Abusive partners may use “social distancing” as a way of control, manipulation, and even a way of hiding or “disguising” their abusive tendencies.
In this article, we will share some important information on how to identify abuse, and what to do if you or someone you love is a victim.
Signs of an Abusive Relationship
Domestic abuse can be more than physical; it can be emotional, verbal, and mental, and warning signs can be subtle. Some examples of abusive behavior can include:
- Jealousy and possessiveness
- Threats and intimidation
- Belittling and insults
- Controlling behavior, such as preventing you from going to work, thus imposing financial control
- Isolation, such as preventing you from socializing and contacting friends or family
- Gaslighting, such as lying and making accusations
- Pressure into sex or substance abuse
What to Do if You Are Experiencing Domestic Abuse
1. Contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a 24/7 support hotline run by trained, expert domestic violence advocates available to speak confidentially via phone and chat. The Hotline has access to service providers and shelters, and also offers a vast amount of resources and information on its website.
When contacting The Hotline you can expect to reach a compassionate and understanding advocate that will help you brainstorm the best course of action based on your circumstances.
2. Have a Safety Plan
A safety plan is a practical plan on how to remain safe if you are planning to leave a spouse or partner, and even after you leave. Safety plans can vary based on factors such as, if you live with an abusive partner, if there are children involved, or if you are pregnant.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers detailed guides on how to establish safety plans. Note that during the current COVID-19 pandemic, as shelter options may be limited, staying with friends or family may need to be an alternative option.
3. Reach Out to Others
It is important to have a support system in place. Speak with someone close to you with whom you trust. There are also many domestic abuse support groups that will offer a safe place for you to share your experience and help you cope.
Online domestic violence support groups, such as Stop Abuse for Everyone, are also available to help you to connect with others in similar situations.
4. Connect with a Counselor
In addition to support groups and reaching out to those close to you, connecting with a trained, professional mental health counselor may help you cope with and heal from an abusive relationship. He or she can provide you with any necessary mental health treatment and additional resources.
5. File a Restraining Order
A restraining order is legally referred to as an “injunction for protection”. This is a Court document that orders an individual to stop harming, contacting, or coming in close proximity with a victim. If you feel unsafe, filing a restraining order is a legal measure you can take to protect yourself.
The process of filing a restraining order in the State of Florida involves gathering the necessary paperwork from the Court, then filing a petition for an “injunction for protection” in the Florida county in which you live.
After filing the petition, the Judge will review the paperwork and will likely immediately issue a temporary injunction if he or she finds that the “abuser” is an immediate threat.
If the abuser is a partner or spouse who lives with the victim, then the victim has the right to request the presence of a police officer to accompany the victim to his or her home to enforce the order.
A long-term restraining order requires a full Court hearing, which the abuser or offender must be present. He or she also has the opportunity to argue against the order.
How The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker Can Help
We live in scary, uncertain times. No one should be the victim of abuse or feel helpless in an abusive relationship. The legal team at The Law Offices of Travis Walker, P.A. takes any form of abuse or violence seriously. Our team is here to help.
We have experience working with individuals who need restraining orders, filing the necessary paperwork, and also preparing for Court hearings to request long-term or final restraining orders.