Unfortunately, after a tragic story of domestic violence, many people find themselves asking, “Why didn’t they leave? Why didn’t they escape? Why didn’t they tell anyone?”
Those who have witnessed or experienced domestic violence know that leaving a violent relationship is rarely that easy, so Illinois is working on making that process easier.
Think of all of the things that someone has to do to leave a relationship and start a new life for themselves: close bank accounts and gain control of certain assets. Find new housing, possibly moving to somewhere completely different. Get a job, or get a new job. Find childcare for children, and help them move as well.
Even something as simple as removing a phone from a cell phone plan can prevent someone from leaving – especially if an abuser is watching the victim’s every move and is suspicious that the victim is trying to leave.
Illinois is working step by step to make this process easier, including the landmark bill giving hairdressers education on domestic violence resources for clients who may be in trouble. Recently, the state introduced a bill that would help victims get out of a cell phone plan if they are trying to leave an abuser.
Cell phones are commonly used by abusers to stalk or spy on victims, and it is easier for abusers to do so if they share a plan with the victim. The new bill would allow victims to keep their number, but remove their phone from the plan in order to stay private.
How a Long History of Domestic Violence Can Turn Into False Accusations
This bill is a step in the right direction, but doesn’t cover up the problems that Illinois is facing when it comes to helping domestic violence victims. Statistics show that many victims are not getting the help they need because the resources just aren’t there. When resources aren’t available for victims, they are more likely to stay with an abuser.
Staying with an abuser can make things more complicated, though, especially if a victim decides to fight back. If law enforcement officers catch a couple in an argument, it is not always easy to identify who is the victim and who is the abuser.
In addition, false domestic violence accusations may arise during a divorce. Statistics have suggested that up to 70% of domestic violence allegations during custody disputes prove to be false or unnecessary.
While it is important for victims to get quick access to the help they need, our system isn’t perfect. The ability to gain a temporary restraining order doesn’t require as much evidence as say, a domestic violence conviction. Even if the restraining order is temporary, it puts you at risk for further criminal charges and can seriously put a halt on your life.
If You Have Been Charged With Domestic Violence
Penalties are very serious for domestic violence crimes go beyond restraining orders. If you are convicted, you may face jail time, fines, the loss of the right to own a firearm, loss of custody, and more. Fight back against accusations and charges. Each case is different, but common defense strategies may include:
- Lack of proof
- Self defense
- False Accusation/Wrong Person
A Chicago criminal defense lawyer can help you pick the right defense strategy and fight to get your charges dropped.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.