View Post

Identifying Signs of Domestic Violence in a Relationship

In Domestic Violence, Relationships by Sarah Hink

It is surprisingly easy to lose yourself in a relationship. After a relationship begins, a lot of people find themselves focused on their partner, while naturally pulling away from their daily routines and even from friends. Unfortunately, a lot of us are optimists, so when we find a partner we are attracted to—and who seems to reciprocate our feelings—we tend to overlook red flags. For your health and safety, it is critical not to overlook red flags of domestic violence. Control Control is an enormous part of an abusive relationship, and can include controlling where a person goes, who they can talk to, their access to money, what they can wear, and their daily activities. In other words, abusers seek to limit their partner’s ability to make decisions for themselves. …

View Post

Can a Man Obtain a Domestic Violence Protective Order?

In Domestic Violence by Carly Baker

Women are not the only victims of domestic violence. According to the latest statistics released by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, about 25% of the victims of domestic violence in North Carolina are male. Further, it is estimated that 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of domestic violence. Sadly, some male victims of domestic violence are hesitant to report their own abuse or to seek help. This may be due to embarrassment, a perception of “weakness” that runs contrary to “manliness,” or even a lack of awareness that help is available. In fact, men have the same legal rights to seek protective orders as women. Domestic Violence Protective Orders Domestic violence occurs when one or more of the following acts is committed by a person with a …

View Post

Batterer Intervention Programs in North Carolina

In Domestic Violence by Elizabeth Stephenson

The impact of domestic violence on victims and on children cannot be overstated. Not only do violence and abuse create a risk of serious injury or death for everyone involved, they also can create lasting emotional damage. For example, children who witness domestic violence run a risk of becoming batterers themselves or becoming involved in bad relationships in the future. Because of the volatile and unpredictable nature of domestic violence—especially when one spouse tries to separate from the other—it sometimes becomes necessary to involve law enforcement or family courts when matters escalate. Domestic violence is a real problem that family courts and law enforcement take very seriously. It sometimes takes law enforcement to arrest and charge a batterer with a domestic violence offense, or a victim to obtain a domestic …

View Post

Male Victims of Domestic Violence Need Help Too

In Domestic Violence by Elizabeth Stephenson

  Contrary to popular belief, falling victim to domestic violence is not a gender exclusive experience. While it is true that the overwhelming majority of domestic violence victims are females, it does a tremendous disservice to ignore that many men are victims as well and deserve attention. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), it is estimated that one in four men have been the victim of some form of intimate partner violence, while one in seven men have been the victim of “severe” physical violence by a partner. For anyone involved in a domestic violence relationship, it can be an incredible struggle to decide to seek help. This is because the power and control wheel creates an unhealthy balance of fear, love, self-doubt, helplessness, and dependence that …

View Post

Children and Domestic Violence

In Domestic Violence, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

Childhood should be a time of wonder, when the world seems big, new, and amazing. It should be a time of learning, of observation, and of exploration. Even more significantly, children have basic needs, which include stability, trust, and safety. Unfortunately, when children are exposed to domestic violence, all of these needs are sacrificed. Consider the following effects of violence on children. Domestic violence is dangerous to children. Even if the conflict is between the adults, they know it is happening. Children will hear the violence, see the violence, or even get caught in the crossfire. Any veteran child protection advocate can tell you stories of children getting injured trying to protect their victim parent, or of abusers attacking mothers while they hold their babies. In worst-case scenarios, children can …

View Post

Guns and Domestic Violence

In Domestic Violence by Sarah Hink

Domestic violence is pervasive, terrifying, and deadly. In far too many violent relationships, the cycle of power and control ends in homicide of the domestic violence victim. The details and patterns of escalation that led to these homicides are horrific, and involve strangulation, lighting the victims on fire, knives, and vehicular homicide. However, in the overwhelming majority of these murders, the abuser used firearms to kill the victim. In 2016, the Associated Press conducted an analysis of homicide data across 49 states and determined that an average of 760 Americans are killed each year in gun violence by their intimate partners or former intimate partners. The vast majority of those killed by guns were girlfriends and wives of the perpetrators. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that firearms are used …

View Post

Violence and Visitation Do Not Mix

In Child Custody, Domestic Violence by Sarah Hink

Children and family violence do not mix. Children are vulnerable and completely depend on adults to provide them with safety and stability. Domestic violence and child abuse are devastating to children. Firstly, there is the risk or actual bodily harm suffered by children exposed to violence in the home. Secondly, children also experience an incredible emotional detriment when they are physically abused or they witness violence against a household member. They can carry this trauma with them their entire lives and are more likely to have significant mental health issues, to have trust issues, and to enter into violent relationships when they become adults. Child Custody Determinations Consider Violence Courts recognize the risks and impact that violence has and do not tolerate violence when it comes to children. The last …

View Post

National Stalking Awareness Month

In Domestic Violence, Health, Lifestyle, Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

January is National Stalking Awareness Month. In 2003, following the murder of Peggy Klinke, a victim of stalking, her sister strongly advocated for a greater national push for law enforcement to protect victims. In 2004, the National Center for Victims of Crime, accompanied by a resolution of Congress, introduced a month dedicated to spread understanding and awareness of the crime of stalking. What Constitutes Stalking? According to the Stalking Resource Center, stalking includes the following conduct: “Approaching the victim or showing up in places when the victim didn’t want them to be there; making unwanted telephone calls; leaving the victim unwanted messages (text or voice); and watching or following the victim from a distance, or spying on the victim with a listening device, camera, or global positioning system”. In addition, …

Having a Safe Holiday Season

In Child Custody, Domestic Violence by Elizabeth Stephenson

  New Direction Family Law wishes you the happiest of holidays. This season, we hope that you have the opportunity to spend time with loved ones and to genuinely reflect on your life, love, and loss over the past year. That’s all any of us really want: holidays full of joy and forever memories. Unfortunately, holidays can also truly be incredibly lonely times for some people. When it comes to separation, divorce, and child custody, holidays can be emotionally charged times of bad decisions, conflict, and volatility. It is therefore important to take steps to make sure that you have a safe and emotionally healthy holiday season. Step 1: Addressing Danger First and foremost, if there is a history of domestic violence or child abuse, and you believe that you or …

View Post

The Most Dangerous Time in a Domestic Violence Relationship

In Domestic Violence by Elizabeth Stephenson

If you ask a domestic violence advocate or survivor about the most dangerous periods of time in a domestic violence relationship, you will probably get a similar answer from everyone: during a separation. It isn’t difficult to understand why. Abusers behave in a manner designed to gain power and control over their victims. The threats, the isolation, the emotional and physical abuse, the blaming, and the economic abuse are all for naught when a victim leaves. This brings about a potentially unhinged level of desperation in which an abuser will do anything necessary to retain their control. If these escalating attempts to regain control are unsuccessful, there is grave potential for an abuser to try to end everything. At New Direction Family Law, we have seen what domestic violence looks …