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Domestic violence is an issue quietly impacting countless individuals and families worldwide. It’s a problem that can cause lifelong physical and emotional trauma but often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. That’s why it is so important for friends and family to be vigilant in recognizing the signs of domestic violence to help those suffering. In acknowledgment of October being National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we present a guide to assist you in recognizing signs and offering support:

Forms of Abuse That May Signal Domestic Abuse is Occurring

Under Minnesota and Wisconsin law domestic abuse is defined as the infliction of physical harm or the fear of imminent infliction of physical harm. Forms of abuse that are commonly associated with domestic abuse include emotional, psychological, and financial control of one partner in a relationship over the other. These other forms of abuse, while not physical abuse, may be key in establishing fear of imminent physical harm if a partner does not cooperate with the demands of an abusing partner. These categories of other forms of abuse are as follows:

Emotional Abuse

Emotional, psychological, or mental abuse can be harder to recognize than physical violence. Emotional abuse occurs when one partner attempts to control the thoughts and feelings of the other person by using verbal and nonverbal tactics. Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse may be subtle and harder to spot without a close relationship with the victim.

Some examples of emotional abuse include:

  • Withholding affection or approval as punishment
  • Blaming the partner for all problems in the relationship
  • Name-calling, belittling or insulting partner
  • Gaslighting or manipulating the partner to make them doubt their feelings or reality
  • Using guilt, fear and intimidation to control the other person
  • Monitoring and controlling what the other person does who they see

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse involves using psychological tactics to control or manipulate someone. Psychological abuse can be incredibly damaging and is often used to undermine a person’s sense of identity, self-worth and self-esteem. It can also involve using threats and intimidation to scare others into complying with what they want.

Here are examples of psychological abuse include:

  • Threatening partner or their loved ones with physical or emotional harm
  • Isolating partner from family and friends
  • Humiliating or degrading a partner in front of others
  • Withholding information, such as financial information, to maintain control over the other person
  • Using extreme forms of manipulation or coercion to get what they want

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is where the abuser uses money and resources to control or dominate the victim. Financial abuse can involve limiting access to finances, not allowing a partner to have a job or career outside of the home, monitoring their spending habits, or making financial decisions without involving their partner.

Financial abuse is often combined with other forms of emotional or psychological abuse, such as controlling their partner’s access to finances and using threats of financial harm or loss to manipulate them. Financial abuse can be damaging because it limits the victim’s ability to decide about their life and future. 

How Can Friends and Family Help?

Friends and family can be a major source of help for victims of domestic violence. Even if you feel powerless, there are many ways to show support and assistance. Here’s how you can help someone who is in an abusive relationship: 

Remain Supportive 

The victim must know they have people they can turn to for help. Let them know you are there for them no matter what, and be sure to make yourself available when they need someone to talk to. 

Educate Yourself on Domestic Violence

Make sure you’re aware of the problem’s scope and the resources out there. This can help you better understand your loved one’s situation and give you the knowledge to help them.

Encourage the Victim to Seek Professional Help

If your loved one is in a dangerous situation, they must get the help of trained professionals who can provide resources and assistance. Reassure them that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength. 

Take Action & Get Assistance Today

Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Even if the signs seem subtle, it can be destructive to relationships and have long-lasting impacts on victims’ lives. 

Reach out for assistance from Benjamin Kaasa Law Office, PLLC today. We have the knowledge and resources to help protect your rights and ensure that offenders face the consequences of their actions. Don’t hesitate to get the help you need – take action today. 

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