Domestic Violence Lawyers in Hanover, MA Assisting Clients through a Difficult Time
According to the American Bar Association, domestic violence is “a pattern of many behaviors directed at achieving and maintaining power and control over an intimate partner, such as physical violence, emotional abuse, isolation of the victim, economic abuse, intimidation, and coercion and threats.” The abuser can be a family member or an intimate partner, current or former co-resident, parent of the same child, or related by blood or through marriage, for example.
Domestic violence is shockingly common and is not selective of race, gender, age, etc. The impacts it has on its victims can vary greatly and can have profound effects on children, especially. Violence not only affects the victims themselves but those around them, such as their family and friends, co-workers, and others.
Abuse is never ok, and you are not alone. At O’Connor Law Firm, we have many years of experience helping people through this incredibly difficult time, and we are here to help you as well. Contact us at 774-214-2137 to find out more regarding your delicate situation and learn more about what you can do to protect yourself.
Is All Domestic Violence the Same?
The short answer is no; there are forms of domestic violence that may not seem obvious to some, but that are causing harm to you or your livelihood and can be addressed. Generally speaking, abuse happens slowly, so the victims don’t always realize it’s happening in the beginning stages. As things escalate or become more of an obvious pattern, the damage may have already taken a psychological toll that looks like or involves depression and anxiety, inability to think clearly, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and more. Many people experience multiple forms of abuse, and abuse, in general, is more common than one would think. Both women and men experience domestic violence, as well as children and the elderly, and everyone has a right to obtain protection and take action to get the violence to stop.
Emotional abuse consists of either verbal or non-verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is yelling or treating the victim in such a way that it affects them psychologically and can result in depression or anxiety and other issues. Non-verbal abuse can be based on neglect or isolating the victim from others or terrorizing the victim.
Financial abuse occurs when the abuser limits access to finances in an effort to control the victim. Without access to finances, it’s harder or nearly impossible to leave a harmful situation.
Elder abuse involves neglect of a person 65 or older, including financial exploitation as well as physical and emotional abuse.
Isolation is controlling what someone does, where they can go, and who they see or talk to. This may keep them from family, friends, or the other support systems that most of us have in place.
Domestic sexual abuse can occur between two adults by the abuser forcing or demanding sexual acts of their partner against their will, and also covers sexual violence towards children such as incest or rape.
Stalking is another element of domestic violence and occurs when a victim is repeatedly harassed or threatened, sending repeated harassing texts or emails, showing up at their victim’s work, and initiating harassing behavior, causing the victim emotional distress.
Strangulation constitutes the act of the abuser intentionally obstructing the victim’s breathing or blood circulation by placing pressure on the victim’s throat or neck or by blocking their mouth and nose.
What are the Penalties for Domestic Violence?
Penalties can vary greatly, based on who the victim is to the abuser, what acts of violence occurred and their pattern or history, whether or not a weapon was involved, whether or not a restraining order was in place, and other factors. Penalties can involve substantial incarceration as well as substantial fines, and these escalate based on the factors listed above and whether or not it is the first or a subsequent offense. As a general rule, domestic violence is taken very seriously, and therefore penalties and jail time are often the result of committing these offenses.
Can I Get a Restraining Order or an Abuse Prevention Order?
Courts have the authority to issue a Restraining Order, also known as an Abuse Prevention Order or 209A in Massachusetts, that requires the abuser to stop a certain behavior, such as harassment or physically harming the victim. You can obtain an Abuse Prevention Order against your spouse, former spouse, blood relative or relative by marriage, current or former household member, or someone you have had a significant dating relationship with.
You may request that the court enforces no further abuse, that the abuser leaves and remains away from your place of work/home, that the abuser no longer has contact with you, that temporary custody of children be awarded to you,the abuser does not have any contact with them, and other requests based on your specific needs.
Police then enforce the Abuse Prevention Order and are required to act to protect the victim. If there are violations of this prevention order, the abuser may be subjected to fines, paying expenses incurred by the victim due to the behavior, completing a batterer’s intervention program, or other penalties. If the behavior continues, courts are also able to order that GPS tracking devices be worn by the abuser and that they are ordered to stay out of defined geographic locations.
Abuse is never ok, and you don’t have to continue being a victim. O’Connor Family Law has helped many people determine what their specific domestic violence situation entails, what steps they can take to find relief, and then helped them to do so. We respect the delicate nature of your situation and are here to help you move forward. Please contact us today at 774-214-2137 to find out more about how we can help you.