Many Pennsylvania residents are the victims of domestic violence every year. Sadly, a large number of these cases go unreported, many because the victims are frightened or they make excuses for the perpetrators' behaviors. Another issue is that some people believe domestic violence only occurs with physical abuse, but the term encompasses several different types of behaviors that can be characterized as abusive.
There are several different ways victims of domestic violence can act to help protect themselves from their abuser. They may be able to get a restraining order, get police help and institutional help, or they may help to criminally prosecute the perpetrator. Often, the key is recognizing that the behavior is abusive and then seeking help.
In addition to physical abuse, other types of abuse are also domestic violence. These can include sexual abuse, which occurs when the perpetrator forces sexual activity when it is unwanted. Emotional abuse is also domestic violence. With this type, the abuser tries to demean and belittle the victim in order to destroy their feelings of self-worth. Financial abuse occurs when the perpetrator controls all of the finances, not letting the victim work or not providing them with money in an attempt to control them. Psychological abuse involves threatening behavior that is designed to intimidate the victim.
When people are victims of domestic abuse, it is important for them to seek help before the situation escalates. A victim may want to speak with a family law attorney who helps people with such matters. The attorney may be able to help the client seek and obtain a domestic violence restraining order. Legal counsel may also be able to help with locating appropriate shelters that the abuser will not be able to find. Finally, an attorney may help their client as they go through the process of helping the state prosecute the abuser.