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The different forms of domestic violence

Domestic abuse can take many different forms. While many Massachusetts residents think of domestic violence as physical abuse, mental or verbal abuse also qualifies as domestic violence. The main goal of most abusers is to achieve complete control or subjugation of the person who he or she is abusing.

When a relationship ends, some may resort to stalking, which is considered domestic violence and consists of any act that irritates or terrorizes the victim. Stalking may involve unwanted phone calls, letters or gifts. A stalker may also engage in surveillance activities to keep tabs on a former spouse or partner. Prior to the end of a relationship, an abuser may resort to overt forms of control such as not allowing their partner to work outside the home. This is because a person who earns money may be able to make their own decisions.

Domestic violence may take place in relationships involving two people of the same sex. Research shows that such cases of abuse occur at the same rate of heterosexual relationships. It also shows that any type of close relationship may create conditions that are needed to perpetuate such abuse as couples learn a lot about each other. However, it may not be possible to spot an abuser before engaging in a relationship.

Those who are the victim of domestic violence may wish to talk to a family law attorney to discuss their options. An attorney may be able to get a restraining order on behalf of the victim or get an order of support. Those who do get a restraining order may be able to stay in their home while the abuser may be asked to leave.

Source: Divorce Support, "Domestic Violence", September 15, 2014

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