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Verbal Abuse is Also Violence

Domestic violence comes in many forms. Often, an abusive partner begins with verbal threats and then escalates to physical violence. Even when no physical abuse exists, incidents of emotional, verbal, financial and cyber abuse can be grounds for pursuing an order of protection. In New York State, it is possible to get a restraining order based on verbal abuse alone, as long as the abuse meets the state’s definition of harassment, and includes any behaviors that intend to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm the victim.

Non-physical abuse can be difficult to recognize. Here are some general definitions to help identify abuse:

  • Emotional abuse – Making suicide threats, blackmailing, isolating from support systems.
  • Verbal abuse – Name-calling, insulting, swearing, blaming, yelling, and threatening violence.
  • Financial abuse – Forbidding partner to work, limiting access to money, transportation or phone. Restricting spending, checking records and receipts.
  • Cyber stalking and harassment – Threatening via email, Facebook, text message, phone or other means of communication.

The most significant sign of abuse is the emotional damage suffered by the victim. This is hard to measure but should not be downplayed. It is important to keep a record of any abusive incident, including emails or verbal threats. In the event the case goes to court, it is helpful to have oral or written witness statements testifying to the abuse.

When the abuser is served an order of protection by the court, he has the option to consent or to contest. If the abuser consents, the order can stay in place for up to two years. If the victim obtains a contested order over the contesting party's objection, the order can stay in effect for up to five years.

Domestic violence is a serious matter, and verbal or mental abuse can be every bit as damaging as physical violence. If you are trapped in an abusive situation and want help to get out, contact a divorce attorney who can assist you in the initial and most difficult stages of leaving a violent marriage. To learn more, call the Buffalo, NY Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis and Associates at 716.886.9600 or contact us online.

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