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What Qualifies as Domestic Violence in Joshua Tree, California?

Domestic violence cases are some of the most heinous crimes a person can commit. The effects of domestic violence can be felt not just by the victim but also by their families, friends, and even their co-workers. Unfortunately, this type of abuse is all too prevalent, and it comes in many forms. Many people choose not to report them for various reasons, including shame or fear of retaliation if their abuser is threatening further violence if the victim speaks out. With so much at stake, knowing what qualifies as domestic violence in Joshua Tree, California is crucial.

Under California law, domestic violence is any abuse committed against an intimate partner or family member. This includes physical violence, sexual assault, emotional abuse, economic abuse, and stalking. To be considered domestic violence, the abuse does not have to be physical, which is a myth many fall victim to. Any of the aforementioned types of abuse can be considered domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. Several resources are available to victims of domestic violence, including hotlines, shelters, and support groups. If you’re not sure where to turn, you can always contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for 24/7 assistance.

What Domestic Violence Looks Like

Domestic violence takes many forms, and it’s important to be aware of all the different types of abuse that qualify.

Physical Abuse

This abuse is the most easily recognizable form of domestic violence. Physical abuse is any type of physical force used against a victim using the intention to cause fear, pain, or injury. This can include:

  • Hitting
  • Pushing
  • Kicking
  • Choking
  • Strangling
  • Throwing things
  • Using a weapon against a victim

Physical abuse can also include denying a victim medical care or forcing them to take drugs. Some clear signs that someone may have been the victim of physical abuse include:

  • Bruises, cuts, or scratches
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Internal bleeding
  • Burns
  • Missing teeth

It’s important to remember that physical abuse does not always leave visible injuries. If you suspect that someone you know is the victim of physical abuse, trust your gut and reach out for help.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual contact forced upon a victim. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Rape
  • Unwanted touching or groping
  • Forcing a victim to engage in sexual acts
  • Forcing a victim to look at pornographic material

Sexual abuse can also include threats or actions meant to coerce a victim into sexual acts. Some signs that someone may have been the victim of sexual abuse include:

  • STDs or STIs
  • Unexplained injuries to the genital area
  • Changes in sexual behavior
  • Being distant or withdrawn

Sexual violence is some of the hardest abuse to come forward about. If you recognize any of these signs in someone who typically acts differently, you could make the difference between finding the help they need to heal or continuing to suffer in silence.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is any type of abuse that attacks a victim’s sense of self-worth or emotional well-being. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Name-calling
  • Belittling
  • Gaslighting
  • Yelling
  • Intimidation
  • Isolation

Emotional abuse can also include actions meant to control a victim, such as:

  • Limiting access to transportation
  • Controlling what a victim can and cannot wear
  • Forbidding a victim from seeing friends or family members
  • Monitoring a victim’s social media or phone calls

Some signs that someone may be the victim of emotional abuse include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Withdrawal from friends or activities they once enjoyed
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Unexplained anxiety or depression

If you notice any change in the emotional health or behavior of someone you know, it could indicate something has happened behind closed doors. Without being too intrusive, see if there is anything you can do to help and encourage the person to seek professional help if needed.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is any form of abuse that controls a victim’s access to financial resources. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Forcing a victim to relinquish control of their bank account
  • Not allowing a victim to work outside the home
  • Damaging or destroying a victim’s property
  • Running up large amounts of debt in a victim’s name

Financial abuse is more difficult to spot because it often happens gradually over time. However, some signs that someone may be the victim of financial abuse include:

  • Sudden changes in financial status or ability to access money
  • Unexplained changes in spending habits
  • A partner who is always asking for money or refuses to share financial information

If you are concerned about the financial well-being of someone you know, see if there is anything you can do to help. You can also encourage the person to seek professional help, as financial abuse can be a complicated issue to navigate.

Stalking

Stalking is a form of harassment that involves repeated, unwanted contact or attention from another person. This can include:

  • Following or spying on a victim
  • Showing up at a victim’s home or workplace
  • Sending unwanted gifts or communications
  • Threatening a victim or the people close to them

Some signs that someone may be the victim of stalking include:

  • Changes in behavior, such as appearing anxious, paranoid, or withdrawn
  • Avoiding places they used to go regularly
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Problems concentrating at work or school

Keeping an eye out for someone you care for that is being stalked can be difficult, but there are clear and common signs you can look for. Never hesitate to reach out for help if you are concerned about someone’s safety.

Contact an Experienced Firm Today

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are legal options available. At the Law Offices of Athina K. Powers, we can help. We understand the complex nature of domestic violence and can provide the knowledgeable, compassionate representation you need to protect your rights and safety. Contact us today to learn more.