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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
678-208-9200Available 24/7

Mythbusting Illinois Domestic Violence

Posted on in Domestic Abuse

IL defense lawyerIllinois has enacted stringent domestic violence laws designed to safeguard victims from their abusers. However, merely passing a law does not eliminate the problem, and misinformation abounds which can wind up leading victims up the proverbial garden path. If you are in a critical situation, it is imperative to ensure that you understand the truth, lest you neglect a resource that might better your situation, especially if quality of life or safety are at stake.

Myth: “Domestic violence is an entirely private matter.”

Fact: In reality, victims have reported notably higher instances of certain diseases and health conditions, such as strokes, high blood pressure, substance abuse, and heart disease. Productivity losses associated with injuries and violent death due to domestic violence have been estimated at over $1.8 billion. Psychiatric conditions such as PTSD are reported at multiple times higher in domestic violence victims than they are in those who have never experienced such treatment, especially women. This is a crime which affects society in significant ways, at the very least economically.

Myth: “If it’s not between spouses, it doesn’t count as domestic violence.”

Fact: Illinois law has been markedly expanded in recent years, and as of this writing, the statute explicitly defines domestic violence as “physical abuse, harassment, intimidation … interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation” of not just a spouse, but a family member. Family members include not only spouses, but also ex-spouses, blood relatives like siblings or children, boyfriends and girlfriends, housemates, disabled people and their aides, and any unmarried parent of a child in common with the alleged abuser.

Myth: “If you don’t leave your abusive spouse, it can be held against you in a custody or alimony dispute.”

Fact: Illinois is a no-fault state, which means that no-fault grounds are ascribed to either spouse in most divorces. Child custody is determined by weighing several factors, including the best interests of the child in question, and since by the time custody is at issue, the spouses will almost certainly be living apart, such past behavior will likely have no bearing on that issue.

Myth: “If you have not been physically harmed, a court will not believe you have been abused since the case will come down to the abuser’s word against yours.”

Fact: Domestic violence under Illinois law does not have to be of a physical nature in order to be considered abuse. The definition explicitly includes ‘harassment’ and ‘intimidation’ under its aegis - these actions do not require a physical element, only that one has been put in reasonable fear of future physical harm. While evidence is obviously required to establish that behaviors have taken place, mere lack of physical injury is not sufficient to discount claims of abuse.

Contact an Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney

Being the victim of domestic violence is a situation no one should ever have to endure. If you are in a position where you can fight back, you need an experienced DuPage County domestic violence attorney on your side who is willing to work hard for you. Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. is ready, willing and able to ensure that you are heard and that your safety and well-being are the top priority. Contact our offices today to set up an appointment.



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