Although none of us like to think about it, domestic violence is a rapidly growing issue in our society. Legally, any individual who abuses, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of another family or household member has broken the domestic violence law here in Illinois. According to the Illinois State Police, a “family or household member” can include any of the following:
- Spouses and former spouses
- Parents, children, and stepchildren
- Those who previously shared the same home
- People who dated or were engaged, regardless of gender
- Those who allegedly have a child in common
- People with disabilities and their personal caregivers
Abuse can take on different forms depending on circumstance. While many people associate domestic violence abuse with physical violence, such as hitting, kicking, pushing, forced sex, etc., some do not always consider the other forms. These can include, but are not limited to, harassment (threats, following, preventing you from seeing your child), forcing a child or other person witness abuse, making someone do something you do not want to do, or denying a disabled person access to required care. Domestic violence can occur in any region, among any ethnic, religious, racial, socioeconomic, or age group. It is present in relationships of all ages, and even in same-sex relationships. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, almost one in every four women in the United States will be physically battered or raped by a close partner at one point or another during their lives. Out of the cases reported, approximately 2 million to 4 million assaults on women by partners are estimated each year. Domestic violence is not a joke. It is a serious problem in our society that affects millions of people each and every day. While advances are being made to put an end to the problem, there is still work to be done. If you or someone you know is or has been the victim of domestic violence, do not hesitate to contact an Illinois criminal attorney to assist you in freeing yourself from the dangerous situation.