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Domestic Violence: Abuse Isn’t Always Just Physical

Abuse of any kind is a serious allegation in New Jersey; mistreating any person can result in damaging accusations and harsh penalties. However, these cases can be extremely complicated because they often involve at least two very different stories about what happened or did not happen.

One way that domestic assault or abuse claims can be resolved is when one side — typically the alleged victim — can collect enough evidence to paint a more comprehensive picture of ongoing mistreatment. In order to do this, it can be important for people to understand that abuse isn’t always just physical; it can also be financial, sexual, emotional and psychological.

It is true that physical injuries can be the clearest indicator of abuse; a black eye, broken bones and other injuries can easily been seen. However, physical abuse allegations can prompt defenses from the alleged abuser that he or she was acting in self-defense or that the injuries were caused by someone else. This is why it can be so important to keep track of other indicators of abuse.

For instance, a person prevented from working and earning money or kept from controlling or accessing shared assets could be a victim of financial abuse. A person who is sexually harassed, assaulted, coerced into having an abortion or raped could make a case for sexual abuse.

Emotional or psychological abuse is often combined with other types of abuse and can be particularly destructive. Humiliation, constant criticism and hurtful insults can destroy a person’s self-esteem and could be considered emotional abuse. Making threats or isolating a person from engaging with friends and family members could signal psychological abuse.

Individually, these types of abuse may not always warrant legal action. However, they can escalate to more aggressive and obvious types of abuse, and they often combine with each other.

Alleged victims of these behaviors and people accused of these behaviors can find it very difficult to understand what information is relevant to their case and what may not be. Working with an attorney familiar with the complexity of these cases can provide people on either side of this terrible situation with the support they need to face the legal ramifications of abuse.

Source: FindLaw.com, “Types of Domestic Violence,” accessed on Jan. 15, 2015

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