Domestic violence or abuse refers to violent or abusive acts committed by one spouse against another. This can occur either in physical harm or through power and control behaviors. According to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICDAV), each year, more than 40,000 cases of domestic violence are reported. Also, more than 8,000 children annually witness acts of domestic violence in their homes.
Types of domestic violence
Domestic violence occurs in many ways, and many people are abused without knowing. Other spouses are afraid that their marriage or relationship will be broken if they try to defend themselves against domestic abuse. The most common ways of how a person gains power and control include:
- Sexual abuse occurs when the abuser tries to coerce the victim into engaging in sexual behavior or sexual contact without the victim’s consent
- Emotional abuse occurs in several ways, such as when the abusers attempt to make the victim feel bad about themselves. They may also call the victim names, humiliate or make the victim feel guilty and gaslight them.
- Economic abuse happens when the abuser tries to prevent the victim from being employed or keeping a job or when the abuser makes the victim financially reliant
- Isolation abuse happens when the abuser attempts to control what the victim does, who they talk to, what they read or limit where they go
- Using intimidation occurs when the abuser attempts to make the victim afraid by using actions, looks or gestures. It can also happen when the abuser destroys their property and abuses pets
- Using children occurs when the abuser makes the victim feel guilty about the children, uses children to convey messages and makes threats about running away with children
Domestic violence and divorce
Domestic abuse impacts a relationship in many ways, and it may lead to the abused partners eventually filing for a divorce. The Illinois statute recognizes domestic violence as one of the fault grounds on which one can file a divorce. Abuse can impact your rights in divorce in numerous ways.
It may result in the court issuing a restraining order against your partner. It may entitle you to a significant percentage of marital assets and alimony during the divorce settlement. It may give you rights to spousal support payments during the divorce. In child custody, the parent with a history of abuse may have their decision-making responsibility and parenting time denied or limited. Finally, it may give you rights to a spousal home during the divorce process