Violence includes, but is not limited to the following circumstances: Physical - hitting or burning; Sexual - rape or incest; Emotional - threatening, insulting or harassing; and Neglect - poor physical or emotional care.
FACTS ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
There are many people in our society who still believe in the myth that only a man is capable of being abusive and that only a woman can suffer abuse. The truth is anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Abusers can be of any gender and abuse happens in all walks of life. Many victims and abusers grew up in abusive homes. Characteristics of the classic abuser and victim may include the following:
Blames others for their behavior; Demonstrates very jealous behaviors; Low self-esteem; Will often have legal problems, fines or prior jail convictions for domestic violence crimes; and Abusers make excuses, such as "blaming" the abuse on other people or situations. Examples of "blaming" statements are as follows: "I had a rough day at work and it's your fault." "The boss gave me a demotion because of you."
May have suffered serious physical injury in the past from abuse; May experience depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, helplessness and a sense of worthlessness; May blame himself/herself for the violence; and May believe no one can help them get out of the violent relationship.
Incidents of domestic violence often go unreported by victims for the following reasons: Victims do not realize they are in a dangerous and/or violent situation; Victims do not recognize the domestic violence signals; Victims feel ashamed, hopeless or they are in denial; Victims sense they have no alternatives; Victims sense no one can protect them; and Victims do not know of services available to them or how they can obtain these services.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVENTION TIPS
Watch for personality changes such as more aggressive, violent, moody or accusing behavior; Develop a plan of action and instruct your children about the plan; Locate a safe house such as the home of a trusted friend, trusted neighbor or family member; Locate a safe shelter that is suitable to your needs and accepts children if necessary; and Seek counseling assistance.
EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE ORDER (EPO)
Police officers at the scene can obtain an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) for your safety. The EPO can be served by any police officer, anytime of the day or evening; A police officer may use his/her judgement and obtain an EPO even if the victim is reluctant; The EPO is valid for five days; and The EPO is free of charge.
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO), RESTRAINING ORDER (RO), DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDER (DVRO)
Victim must go to Superior Court; The order is valid for three weeks; A police officer can serve the order; When an order has expired, it is the responsibility of the victim to reinstate the order by going back to court; and All orders are free of charge.
Take a stand. Reach out to someone in the community if you believe they are a victim of domestic violence, and are being abused. Do not give up easily, change takes time. Part of the abuser's power comes from secrecy. Victims are often ashamed to let anyone know about their violent partner. Ending the isolation is a critical first step. Victims of domestic violence rarely complain. They will not tell friends, relatives, neighbors or the Police Department. Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, all cultures, all incomes, all ages, and religious backgrounds. They share similar feelings of guilt, helplessness, isolation, fear and shame. They hope in vain it won't happen to them again, but hope does not stop the violence. Help if you can.