This essay will talk about how the legal system works when it comes to intimate partner violence. Victims are able to file restraints against their abusers, though if the abuser is mentally unstable a protective order may do nothing more but infuriate them. This is when people can step in and begin to help the victim. Not all victims need help necessarily, but you can help by helping them allocate resources. Abuse is about power and control and an abuser will thrive off of it. There are hotlines that you can all and give the number to those who need it as well. Domestic violence happens more than you know. In fact, one in 4 women and one in seven men are affected by it. There are ways for someone to help themselves during episodes of domestic violence. A victim of Intimate Partner Violence is able to file for a protection order from their abuser. The protective order will be upheld against the victim themselves. Typically, the abuser is unable to be within so many feet of their victim and they are not able to have contact, or contact is limited to a third party. This can go on for a certain amount of time, however long the judge sees fit for the abuser. The abuser is also subject to jail and paying a fine for any violations of a protection order. If there are children involved and the abuser still wants to spend time with them, the abuser and the victim are able to decide on a meeting time and supervised location through a third party. But at no time is the abuser and his or her victim able to have direct contact with each other. Contact on the abuser’s behalf, unless through a third party can even be possible but not excessive. This method of contact is subject to the judge’s discretion. When the abuser does, however, contact the victim outside of the protective order, it is also up to the victim to enforce it. By which they need to alert their law enforcement that they have been contacted. These protective orders are put in a system that should follow the victim no matter if they’re in another state than the one they filed the order in. This is one way the legal system helps protect the victim, but again, it is up to the victim to uphold the protection order.
Often times, some victims want protection but they do not want to leave the relationship. This is still an option when it comes to the legal system. They can still place a protection order against the physical abuse in a relationship. Though this may escalate into other forms of abuse such as mental/emotional abuse. Often that’s already taking place so the protective order just may intensify that. When the victim is ready to leave, then they are more than able to make revisions in the order that will completely cut off contact if that’s what they would like. The court systems are in place to help those who suffer from Intimate Partner Violence. A victim or an abuser does not necessarily need to have an attorney at these court orderings, although it may help or give some form of confidence, especially for the victim. Typically the judge will look at the situation objectively from both sides to make the final decision when it comes to protective orders or restraints.
When people tend to think about helping people in situations of Intimate Partner Violence, they don’t know exactly how they can help. There once was a story about a woman and her co-worker who unknowingly helped her in her Intimate Partner Violence case. This co-worker would silently document when she saw the woman coming into work and was “different”. Whether they were bruises or just differences in her character. This went on for months. When the time came for the victim to speak up about her abuser, the co-worker provided her those documents that helped her win the case. While this was very helpful for this woman, in particular, this might not happen to another woman but there are still ways that we can all help people that we see that are suffering from Intimate Partner Violence.
As discussed in previous modules, the first way is just to understand and know the signs of Intimate Partner Violence. While it is unfortunate for kids to be involved, they are also signs of Intimate Partner Violence, especially if it is happening to them as well. Children who suffer may begin to be withdrawn, or the total opposite by acting out erratically. This is when the teachers or daycare workers should take an extra moment to not necessarily pry into their business, but just ask and make sure everything is okay. This won’t always work because children especially those who are suffering from sexual abuse are often sworn to secrecy or “What goes on in this house stays in this house”. This is why it is imperative to understand the signs. Abuse is about power and control, so to recognize these signs are to see that the abuser is making belittling comments about their victim, (your sister, cousin, friend or brother). They are often concerned about making the right decisions in the name of their partner for fearing of making their partner upset.
In addition to children, the adults can become withdrawn as well and they too can stop participating in activities whether they be school, work or family related. These are things that we are all to watch out for so that we may help. Help may not even have to be in the form of calling the police, but you can help by offering shelter or even offering funds to help the victim. There are many hotlines that will help in the crisis of Intimate Partner Violence that not only offer mental support but they can point the victim in the direction of where they can get physical help, whether it be a shelter or somewhere they may be able to find clothes and small jobs to make money or even work based on a barter system. The one thing you don’t want to do is be judgmental about your friend/loved one and their choices. It is not always easy to get out of domestic violence situations and may victims have their reasons for staying. Though it may not make sense to you at the time, it could be a financial or even a life or death situation.
What you can do is be there for them as much as possible during their time of need and offer words of encouragement. They already may feel trapped so they don’t want to hear things that will make them feel worse or as if what they are doing isn’t right. The victims need to feel a sense of openness with their communication, and that in itself could be a life or death situation. It hurts to hear that a loved one is being hurt or abused in such fashion, but it is always important to remember that you cannot save your friend. They can only go as far as their abuser and resources will allow them. Which is why if you want to help a friend that is in an abusive relationship, help them allocate resources. That will help them a lot more than you know.
As discussed, there are many ways to help someone in need, that is in a domestic violence situation. The help is very broad and not limited to calling the police or pushing to get them to leave. Everyone takes more time than others, especially when children become involved. These cases begin to become sticky situations. However, if we understand the signs of IPV, this will be a greater chance for us to help our friends or loved ones in need. It is important to keep in mind that people do move on their own time and you cannot force anyone to do something they are ultimately not ready for.
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