How to Protect Yourself and Your Children from Domestic Violence


Posted about 6 years ago. Applies to New York, 4 helpful votes



Who is affected?

Domestic violence affects people who are married or dating, and can occur between parents and children. It affects people from all social, economic, racial, religious and ethnic groups. It knows no boundaries. It occurs in Great Neck with as much frequency as in the inner cities. It is just more carefully hidden, and much more stigmatized. While anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, women are by far the most common victims. The statistics from the National Institute of Justice indicate that 95% of victims are female, and 95% of perpetrators are male. This translates to millions of women being abused by their partners each year. In many cases, the abusers are men in positions of authority and respect in their work and careers.


How can you recognize violence in a relationship?

A healthy relationship is based on trust and mutual respect. Each partner supports the other, and tries to understand each other's feelings and experiences, and feels free to express his or her needs. An abusive relationship often starts just like a healthy one -- full of love, excitement and romance. As time goes on, however, what once felt loving and flattering starts to feel controlling and even frightening. Some signs of an abusive relationship at the dating stage are: excessive jealousy, threats and accusations, name calling, humiliation, possessiveness, and violence. Domestic violence includes isolation of the victim from family and friends, forced sex, control of financial matters, excessive criticizing and belittling, destruction of property, monitoring of the victim's whereabouts, stalking, and manipulation. The more experienced abuser can check the car's mileage and question the children about the victim's daily activities.


What is emotional abuse?

Physical abuse may be easy to recognize, but what is emotional abuse? Emotional abuse is often invisible and unreported. It is verbal abuse, threats, humiliation, and control. The abuser may prevent his partner from getting or keeping a job. He may force the victim to ask for money, or give her an allowance. He may deny her access to the family income. He abuses her by making her think she is crazy, playing mind games, controlling who she sees and talks to, and where she goes. Studies have shown that emotional abuse may be even more destructive than physical abuse because the abuser is always in the victim's face, demeaning, degrading, humiliating and harassing her. In most communities, emotional and psychological abuse is much more common than physical abuse


What are the effects on children?

Children who witness domestic violence, even indirectly, experience high levels of stress, fear and tension due to the high level of conflict between the parents. According to Ms. Schwaeber, when children live in a household with fighting and abuse, they are much more likely to: -- copy the hitting and yelling they see. -- live in fear of physical harm to themselves or their family. -- worry too much. -- think they are responsible and feel badly about themselves. -- feel hopeless and sad and be unable to concentrate at school. -- have problems with eating or sleeping. -- love and hate the abuser at the same time. Studies have indicated that children who witness domestic violence at home, compared to those who do not, exhibit more aggressive and anti-social behavior, depression, anxiety, low self esteem, and low cognitive, verbal and motor skills. Moreover, men who abuse their wives are often violent towards their children. Children from violent


What can be done to help the victim?

Religious and cultural beliefs may tacitly or openly approve of preserving the family, even to the detriment of women and children. In many cultures, there is a strong belief that domination of women by men is acceptable, based upon sex-based stereotypes about appropriate roles and conduct for women and men. In this belief system, males are superior to females, and the victim, not the abuser, is to blame. It is important to offer support to the victim, and to help her understand that she is not to blame, and there is help available to her. If the victim has the support of her family and friends, she will have the strength she needs to investigate her legal options and to stop the abuse. The victim needs to know that there is a safe place for her to go with the children if the need arises. She can seek counseling to better understand her situation and what her options are.

Additional Resources

National Hotlines An information service which offers local referrals for testing, support groups, and counseling. National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE A national helpline which provides crisis assistance and information about shelters, legal advocacy, and counseling. National Victim Center: 1-800-FYI-CALL An information and referral service for victims of domestic violence or rape. Nassau Hotlines Al-Anon/Alateen: (516) 433-8003 A hotline which refers friends and family members of alcoholics to local support groups. Alcohol and Drug Abuse Hotline of Nassau County: (516) 481-4000 A 24-hour alcohol and drug abuse information, referral, and crisis helpline. Alcoholics Anonymous: (516) 292-3040 A hotline which provides alcohol abusers with referrals to local AA group meetings. Children of Alcoholics or Drug Abusers: (516) 588-6676 A YMCA Family Services support group for children (young and adult) of substance abusers. Domestic Violence Hotline: (516) 485-4600 A helpline which offers a program specifically for abusive men seeking counseling and/or referrals. LIAAC: Long Island Association for AIDS Care: (516) 385-AIDS A hotline and referral service offering AIDS information, full client services, support groups, a legal clinic, a buddy program, and pastoral care. Narcotics Anonymous: (516) 937-6262 A hotline for drug abusers which makes referrals to local NA support group meetings. Nassau Coalition Against Domestic Violence: (516) 542-0404 An organization that offers counseling, shelter, and legal help to victims of abuse. Suicide Hotline of Nassau: (516) 679-1111 A crisis intervention and referral hotline for suicide, substance abuse, and other problems. Families Anonymous: (516) 221-0303 A support and referral hotline for family members of drug and/or alcohol abusers. Long Island Women's Coalition, Inc. Hotline: (516) 666-8833 A helpline which offers referrals, counseling, shelter, and court advocacy for battered women. Narcotics Anonymous: (516) 853-3760 A hotline for drug abusers which makes referrals to local NA support group meetings. Nar-Anon: (516) 582-6465 A hotline which refers family members of drug abusers to local Nar-Anon support group meetings. Response of Suffolk County: (516) 751-7500 A crisis intervention and treatment hotline (suicide, drug, alcohol, domestic violence, etc.). Victims Information Bureau (VIBS): (516) 360-3606 A rape and domestic violence hotline Long Island Clinic and Treatment Program Referrals To locate the nearest alcohol or drug abuse clinic, outpatient treatment program, inpatient treatment program, or clinical therapy center, call one of the following information and referral helplines: (Insurance and fee information is available.) Nassau County Department of Drug and Alcohol Addiction: (516) 572-5500 A counselor will make an assessment and set up an appointment for anyone seeking help with a drug or alcohol abuse problem. Local referrals will then be made to clinics, outpatient programs, and inpatient programs, depending on the specific needs and desires of the patient. Nassau residents only.

Wisselman Harounian & Associates PC

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