While we often think of domestic violence as something that happens between spouses or dating partners, this form of abuse can be present in many kinds of relationships, including between a child and parent and between roommates. Domestic abuse is a top health concern in the United States, and it is important to know your rights and the legal protections available to victims of domestic violence.
Domestic abuse can be demonstrated in different ways, which can make it difficult for both the victim and others to immediately recognize. Domestic abuse includes:
- Physical abuse: physical assault that inflicts harm or causes injuries
- Emotional abuse: harassment, intimidation, stalking, bullying, social humiliation, and verbal assault. Emotional abuse damages a person’s self-esteem, instills fear, and causes extreme emotional stress
- Sexual abuse: non-consensual sex, even within a marriage, is a form of sexual assault. Dating violence and sexual abuse is regularly misunderstood
- Economic abuse or financial abuse: withholding money, stealing money, preventing access to money. Financial abuse is a form of controlling behavior that inflicts economic harm
- Psychological abuse: a form of controlling behavior that causes harm to a person’s mental health. In some cases, the victim may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Legal Protections for domestic violence victims in Michigan
Victims of domestic violence have legal remedies in the state of Michigan, including:
- Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): issued by a judge as a temporary measure, a TRO may require the offender to avoid contact with the victim or change residencies
- Permanent Restraining Order: issued after a full hearing, a permanent restraining order may require the defendant to avoid contact with the victim and may last an indefinite period
- Civil lawsuit: may be filed to recover losses and expenses such as medical bills or pain and suffering damages
- Custody/child or spousal support orders: Modifications in child custody or spousal support can be made to prevent any further incidence of violence between spouses, children, or other persons
Domestic violence is often misunderstood. If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic abuse, contact an experienced family law attorney immediately.