Domestic violence is among one of the most controversial topics in both public and private arenas and is a serious matter throughout the world of criminal law. Every state enforces different laws to address domestic abuse, but there are certain circumstances that are considered to be criminal offenses across the United States, regardless of where you live. All are direct threats to a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Is It Really Abuse?
The state of Illinois recognizes that domestic violence comes in many forms. Words hurt, as does mental agitation, manipulation, and any act that forces a person to experience something against their will. Any of the following circumstances are considered by the state to be valid, serious cases of abuse:
• Harassment - Stalking, following, or watching someone to the point where they are uncomfortable, unable to function, or go about their day normally are all forms of harassment. If it interferes with someone’s personal space, distracts them from work or other important obligations, or negatively impacts them emotionally or physically, it is a crime.
• Physical Acts - Physically restraining someone from entering or leaving a space, hitting, punching, kicking, pushing, or forcing someone to have sexual intercourse through coaxing or physical force are all valid domestic violence offenses.
• Forced Will - If someone forces you, a child, or other family member to witness any form of abuse, including physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, then it is considered domestic violence. These actions invoke terror using intimidation and fear tactics in order to exert power and control over an individual.
Other serious domestic violence criminal offenses include the mistreatment of the disabled and elderly. If someone denies a disabled person access to the care they need or prevents an ill family member from getting the help they need to manage their symptoms or take care of their health, they are abusing that individual.
Does It Count?
If a family or household member has initiated or engaged in domestic abuse, then Illinois law considers it a crime. Spouses, former spouses, parents, siblings, or anyone who at one point shared a home together or might potentially share a child together are considered to be a part of the “household.” Even two people who are dating and not married are considered by law to be a part of a “household” if one of the partners commits an act of violence against the other.
Domestic violence is a crime that has far-reaching consequences and long-lasting effects on its victims, but Illinois criminal law has evolved since the enactment of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. The law has made it possible for police officers to better protect victims, their family members, and anyone else impacted by the abuse at the scene of the crime.
Facing Domestic Violence Charges?
If you have been accused of domestic battery or any other criminal offense related to domestic violence, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Jack L. Zaremba understands the justice system and is prepared to provide you with an aggressive, responsible defense against any and all charges. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.