An unfortunately large number of households in New Jersey must endure domestic violence and all that it entails. These situations are uniformly negative and traumatic for everyone involved, including the abuser, but it is usually understood that the first task is to protect and defend those who are being abused.

The U.S. Department of Justice divides domestic abuse into different categories, but the commonality between physical, sexual, economic, emotional and psychological abuse is that the abuser dominates the abused in some way and inflicts misery upon them, often for the purposes of control. Physical abuse is not limited to violent attacks. Standing between the abused person and medical care is certainly a type of physical abuse, as is coercing them into substance abuse or drug addiction. Certain types of domestic violence are often harder to spot, however.

Some types of abuse, such as forcing sexual relations or hurting pets, are widely considered abhorrent and may occasion extreme reactions. Criminal charges are often assessed against the perpetrator. Domestic abuse is known to cause harm to the entire family, and in some cases it will condition vulnerable children to grow up and continue the cycle of abuse on their own. Accordingly, law enforcement officials will often intervene when the situation becomes serious.

Family law attorneys can often help abused individuals improve their situation and protect themselves and their families. They may be able to assist in a variety of ways, from filing for a petition for a modification of child custody orders to help in obtaining a restraining order in cases where the abuser is violent or otherwise known to be dangerous.

Source: The United States Department of Justice, “Domestic Violence,” July 23, 2014