Alleged abuse victims in county often denied immediate help (2022)

Alleged abuse victims in county often denied immediate help (1)

They show up at the York County Judicial Center, head to an office near the lunchroom and ask for help.

They say they're scared of their husband or wife, intimate partner or family member.

They want protection.

They fill out paperwork. They tell their side, answering a form full of questions that essentially ask things like:

When was the most recent incident of abuse?

Did you seek medical attention?

Has the alleged abuser used a gun or other weapon against you?

Then they wait.

Most get to see a judge, whichever one is handling cases that day, at an afternoon hearing. In the courtroom, it’s the judge's chance to ask them questions.

Some cry, fidget, struggle to talk. Others are more matter-of-fact.

The judge decides whether to grant legal protection while alleged victims wait for a final hearing, which is typically scheduled for about 10 days later.

Each year, from 2010 through 2014, judges in York County denied that protection at one of the highest rates in the state.

Statewide, judges denied the requests about 12 percent of the time in 2014, according to Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts data. In York County, judges denied them about three-and-a-half times as often -- about 44 percent of requests.

Individual judges in the county varied widely in how often they denied and granted temporary PFAs in 2014, a York Daily Record/Sunday News analysis of about 720 temporary PFA petitions found.

Judges Andrea Marceca Strong and John W. Thompson Jr. had the highest denial rates. Each denied about seven of every 10 that came before them.

Judge Todd Platts and two out-of-county judges, John L. Braxton and Lawrence F. Clark Jr., who helped with York County cases,had the lowest denial rates, according to the YDR analysis: about 14 percent, 16 percent and 18 percent respectively.

York County saw an increase in the number of domestic-violence related deaths in 2015, including four murder-suicides that alone left 10 people dead. A YDR analysis of domestic-violence related deaths since 2004 -- based on information from the York County coroner’s office, newspaper archives and prothonotary office records -- didn’t find any cases of a homicide victimwho had been denied a temporary PFA immediately before their death.

Still, domestic violence advocates say York County has a reputation as a tough place to get a judge’s approval, which they say can discourage people from even trying.

Anne Acker said the range of denial rates among local judges was bigger than she would have thought.She said it seems that your odds of getting a temporary PFA depend on which judge hears your case.

"Your life should not have to depend on luck of the draw," said Acker, director of YWCA Hanover Safe Home.

Beyond PFA: Ways to prevent domestic violence

But President Judge Joseph C. Adams said each temporary PFA case is different, and judges make decisions based on the law -- not on percentages.

The percentage of temporary PFAs approved in York County increased in 2015, although the approval rate was still below the state average, according to preliminary numbers from the state.

State law, specifically the Protection from Abuse Act, says common pleas judges can approve temporary orders if they determine a plaintiff or minor children “are in immediate and present danger of abuse” from an intimate partner or family member.

The law describes a variety of things that are covered as abuse, such as causing bodily injury or fear of bodily injury.

But the law gives a lot of discretion when it comes to deciding what counts as "immediate and present danger," said Ellen Kramer, an attorney and legal director of the Pennsylvania CoalitionAgainst Domestic Violence.

Alleged abuse victims in county often denied immediate help (2)

Kramer said it’s good for courts to look at individual circumstances. But that discretion can sometimes be a challenge for plaintiffs.

“Sometimes the courts are predisposed to think about a particular victim or a particular set of circumstances, one way or another,” Kramer said. “So it's really incumbent upon the court to kind of go into each of these cases with an open mind and listen to the facts.”

Some who ask a judge for protection don’t understand how judges arrive at their decisions. Melissa Rosenberry, 33, went in March 2014 to get a temporary PFA against her husband. It’s often the first step to getting a final PFA, which can last up to three years.

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In her petition, she said her husband started to "flip out" while they discussed their finances and their marriage. Judge Maria Musti Cook denied her, and Rosenberry decided not to go through with a final hearing, according to court documents.

Cook’s denial reinforced Rosenberry’s feeling that no one would help her, she said.

About seven months later, Rosenberry was back at the courthouse asking for a temporary PFA.

Court must confront PFA disparity

This time she alleged physical abuse in her petition. Rosenberry was denied again, this time by a different judge.

But she wasn’t done trying to get protection.

Alleged abuse victims in county often denied immediate help (3)

PFA cases might be the most difficult ones Adams handles, he said.

Adams, a former assistant district attorney in York County who prosecuted domestic violence and child abuse cases, responded on behalf of county judges. Others declined or didn’t respond to interview requests to discuss their individual records.

Adams said he helped write protocols for how police handle domestic violence cases. He worked on PFA cases in private practice, too, before getting elected to the York County Court of Common Pleas in 2005. He is the former administrative judge for York County’s family division, which handles PFA cases.

When judges decide whether to approve those temporary orders, Adams said, they have to balance the interests of the alleged victims and the alleged abusers.

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The most dangerous time for domestic violence victims is when they are leaving or trying to leave an abuser, advocates say. No judge, Adams said, wants to read in the newspaper that somebody denied a PFA has been killed. "That is everybody's worst nightmare," Adams said.

But for temporary orders, defendants don't have a chance to deny the allegations, offer other evidence, question a person's credibility, or look an accuser and a judge in the eyes.

A temporary order could remove them from their home, take away their guns or limit how often they see their children.

Judges also consider motives of plaintiffs when they try to determine credibility.

“These are the things that wrestle on your mind,” said Adams. “...Did you make the right decision?”

There can be consequences beyond what the judges order. Adams remembers a case from several years ago where a man was evicted from his home because of a temporary PFA, and his work was affected because his tools were inside the home.

Adams said that even if judges say a defendant should keep custody rights, the logistics of exchanging children through a third party often get in the way.

Acker, of Hanover Safe Home, and Heather Keller, legal advocacy director of YWCA York's ACCESS-York and Victim Assistance Center, said judges in York County generally seem to want to see allegations of physical abuse before granting a temporary protection order.

"Just because you're not getting pushed down the steps, or beaten up, or whatever, doesn't mean you're not in danger," Acker said.

The law says abuse includes, for example, following someone in circumstances that would put them in reasonable fear of bodily injury.

And Acker pointed to the lethality assessment screening tool used by police officers to identify alleged victims of domestic violence who are at the highest risk of being killed or seriously injured. Many of the questions on the screening toolask about relationship issuesother thanphysical violence.

The women co-chair a domestic violence review team that examines fatalities. Keller said a key thing she looks for is power and control in relationships.

Keller said understanding that dynamic can help you put individual events in a larger context and understand why someone has a reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury.

Alleged abuse victims in county often denied immediate help (4)

Acker and Keller declined to discuss individual judges. But they said they’ve been puzzled by some denials -- including ones where plaintiffs alleged physical abuse.

Adams declined to discuss specific PFA cases since, he said, doing so could put him at risk of having to recuse himself from cases.

Adams said it was hard to tell whether the range among judges that the YDR analysis found was a good or bad thing, because decisions are specific to each case.

At another point during a lengthy December interview, Adams said it's human nature for judges to have some differences in how they decide whether someone is in immediate and present danger of abuse.

“It's just like in baseball, I guess. Some umpires have a wider strike zone. Some might have a little, slightly smaller strike zone,” Adams said. “But we're all governed by the same rule.”

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Adams said judges can get feedback about whether they're handling cases the right way through the appeals process. He said even though temporary order decisions aren't directly appealable to the state's Superior Court, an appeals court can weigh in on the temporary order process if a final order is appealed.

Cases can be complex. Sometimes people don’t describe physical abuse in the most recent incident, but describe a variety of factors that make them afraid.

When Barbara Milligan, 50, asked for a temporary PFA on May 30, 2014, she didn’t allege physical abuse.

She said her husband, Carl Milligan Sr., “snuck up” on her while she was outside her home around 9 p.m. She thought he had beenwas living out of state. She said she didn't want to talk, but he said she had to.She said when Carl fell asleep, she called the police and they removed him from the house.

In petitions for PFAs from other years, Barbara Milligan alleged she had suffered fractured ribs, busted lips, that she had been kicked, hit in the head with a bottle and punched in the head and jaw, among other things. But she didn't include those details in her May 2014 petition.

During a phone interview in January, Carl Milligan Sr., 48, denied some of his wife’s allegations.He said he never threatened to kill her, but he did admit to hitting and pushing her. That happened when he was still using drugs and alcohol and before he went through therapy, he said.

He said he doesn't live in Pennsylvania anymore, and he doesn't plan on moving back to York or interfering with his wife.

Enforcement of PFA violations questioned

Barbara Milligan’s 2014 temporary PFA request was denied by Judge Strong.

A person who is denied a temporary order who goes through with the final hearing doesn't have legal protection while they wait.

Barbara Milligan returned to court two more times, once in June and once in July2014, but the court delayed final hearings because Carl Milligan Sr. hadn’t been served with paperwork.

In August 2014, neither showed up for a final hearing, and the case was dismissed.

Barbara Milligan said she sees a psychiatrist every few months and takes several prescription drugs daily in order to help manage her anxiety and depression, which she said stem from alleged abuse.

Alleged abuse victims in county often denied immediate help (5)

She is among the many people denied a temporary PFA in 2014 that gave York County its high denial rate.It's not a secret to advocates or to the community that the denial rate for temporary PFAs “is kind of high” here, Keller said.

"So it is not unusual for us to get calls from people that say, 'But I know I'll never get a PFA approved,'" she said. "And so when you are in a place where you feel hopeless and helpless anyway, and the one remedy that you might have ... the word on the street is it's not gonna happen, it certainly is not empowering."

Attorney George R. Studzinski has worked with MidPenn Legal Services for 26 years. In 2014, he represented at least 30 people in PFA cases, according to a YDR analysis. In most of those cases, Studzinski was working for the plaintiff.

Studzinski said a plaintiff who is denied a temporary PFA could feel discouraged. It could also "embolden the defendant," and give them reason to fight further action in court.

Temporary PFAs and final PFAs have different legal standards. Adams said there's a higher standard for a temporary PFA, since the defendant isn’t present for those hearings, called ex parte hearings.

For a final PFA, a plaintiff has to prove the abuse -- even if it’s past abuse -- by a preponderance of the evidence.

"So even though you were denied the ex parte one, you may very well get the final order," Adams said.

Alleged abuse victims in county often denied immediate help (6)

The way judges in York County conduct hearings for temporary orders varies, both from one judge to another and from hearing to hearing for each individual judge. Sometimes, a judge will ask lots of questions of one plaintiff, and ask few or no questions of another plaintiff. Sometimes, judges deny a request without a hearing.

Because of the rotation, a person often does not have the same judge for both the temporary PFA and final PFA.

For plaintiffs, the process can seem unclear. Kelly Jacobs applied for a temporary PFA in early November 2015. She didn't realize she was denied by Judge Strong until after she left the courtroom and an advocate told her, she said.

In her petition, Jacobs alleged the boyfriend she'd just broken up with was verbally aggressive and his behavior had become threatening, with him posturing over her and punching walls near her. Her allegations included that in September 2015, he threw a ceramic pot at her head that she dodged.

Jacobs said she called 911 after the November 2015 incident and police came. No criminal charges were filed.

After she was denied the temporary PFA, she contacted the YDR, saying she was dissatisfied with the experience for herself and others. She said she wasn't sure if she would go to the final hearing. She thought it would probably be a waste of time.

Jacobs didn't show up for a final PFA hearing on Nov. 19 in front of Clark. The case was dismissed.

Coroner: PFA article shed light on serious issue

The YDR analysis raises questions about the consistency of the judges’ rulings on temporary PFA cases.

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Some 2014 petitions with similar allegations were granted, while others were denied. Sometimes when physical abuse was alleged, the judge didn’t grant protection. And sometimes when no physical abuse was alleged, the judge granted the temporary PFA.

  • A woman wrote that her ex-husband forced his way into her home after a struggle. She and her boyfriend were there. Her ex-husband pushed her against a wall, spat in her face and threatened to hurt her. She wrote that she had bruises and that there were prior physical altercations. She was denied by Thompson without a hearing. She didn'tappear at a final PFA hearing and her case was dismissed.
  • In January 2014, a 27-year-old woman asked for a temporary PFA fromStrong.

Strong asked the woman to tell what specifically the defendant did, and the woman replied, “This past week was when he choked me, smacked me in my face, and pulled my hair,” according to the transcript. The woman later said she suffered a welt on her face.

Strong indicated she was going to deny the woman the temporary PFA. “You don’t qualify for the temporary PFA because the Act is very specific, but you are entitled to have a hearing” at a later date, Strong said, according to the transcript. Strong said if the defendant threatened the woman, she could come back in and file for another temporary order.

That’s when the woman said the defendant had beentelling her he wantedher out of the house and “if I’m not out, he is going to burn out my -- burn my stuff,” according to the transcript.

DJs take different approaches to emergency PFAs

Strong asked when the defendant made that threat, and the woman said three or four days before.

Then Strongsaid,“if he’s threatening to burn down the house, I think that places you in fear of imminent bodily harm.”She granted the temporary PFA.

The woman later withdrew her request for a final PFA.

  • Strong denied a temporary PFA to another womanwho alleged that the defendant knocked her to the ground, hit her across the face, pushed her and threatened her. Information from the court indicates she didn’t have a temporary PFA hearing.

She ended up getting a final PFA through an agreement without an admission.

  • Judge Braxton granted a temporary PFA to a woman who said the defendant threw a brick through her window and then came in, according to a court transcript. She said she grabbed her daughter and ran out. The woman did not allege that the defendant had any physical contact with her, according to the transcript. A judge later granted a final order.
  • In 2014, Thompson granted a temporary PFA to a 23-year-old woman who said a man tried to force her to have sex with him. She said she resisted, and that the man had forced her to have sex with him many times before.

But in Melissa Rosenberry's case, when she alleged in October 2014 that she was raped, Thompson denied her temporary PFA without a hearing. On Thompson's order was written: Needs a full hearing.

Rosenberry wrote in that October 2014 petition that the day before, her husband was verbally abusive and got nose-to-nose with her, yelling in her face. Under prior incidents of abuse, she said that two days earlier, her husband wanted to have sex, but she told him no. "Defendant forced himself on Plaintiff and raped her,” her petition says.

Rosenberry learned she was denied by a judge when she called the PFA office.

Thompson, who stepped down from the bench in January, did not respond to multiple interview requests.

Rosenberry remembered being told that she could come back for a final PFA hearing, and she decided to do so.

Alleged abuse victims in county often denied immediate help (7)

At the hearing before Judge Cook on Oct. 16, both Melissa and Gary Rosenberry Jr. testified. Gary Rosenberry Jr. denied her allegations.

In a closing statement, Melissa Rosenberry’s attorney, Michael Lister, talked about how the Protection from Abuse Act defines sexual assault as abuse. He said the act allows judges to determine that abuse occurred even if the sex wasn’t the result of “forcible compulsion.” Abuse can be “simply non-consensual” sex, he said.

Gary Rosenberry Jr.’s attorney, Thomas Miller, said there were short windows of time when any abuse could have happened. He said the judge would have to decide who was more believable.

Miller questioned Melissa Rosenberry’s credibility, and pointed out that she filed for a previous PFA and did not pursue it.

“I submit that wife at no period of time has ever been in any kind of fear of the husband ….,” Miller said, according to the transcript.

Cook said deciding the case was “an issue of credibility” between the Rosenberrys, and she ruled in Melissa Rosenberry’s favor.

She granted a three-year no-contact PFA against Rosenberry's husband.

During an interview in January 2016, GaryRosenberry denied the allegations he raped his wife. He said they were married, and anytime they had sex, it was "consensual."

York County judges in 2015 granted the highest percentage of temporary PFAs since the state started tracking that data.

From 2010 through 2014, the approval rate ranged from about 54 percent to about 59 percent in each of those years.

In mid-January, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts provided preliminary numbers that show about 86 percent of temporary PFA requests were approved statewide in 2015. Meanwhile, York County judges granted more than in previous years:about 73 percent of the requests.

Acker, when told about the change in 2015, said: “Really? I can’t imagine that.”

Acker said she thought the increase in granted orders could have been the result of a cover sheet being added to the front of PFA petitions. Stacy Snyder, deputy court administrator for family court in the York County Court of Common Pleas, said that sheet was added in April 2015. It explains that an advocate is available to help fill out the petition and provide other support. Advocates said they worked with court staff on that addition.

“We will be with you every step of the way,” the sheet says.

How does the PFA process work?

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Acker said domestic violence victims can be so used to the abuse that key parts of their story get lost in the weeds when they try to put it into words. Advocates can help them prioritize information, which could influence the judge’s decision.

Snyder said there were previously pamphlets with information about victims' services in the PFA office. The pamphlets are still there, she said, but the cover sheet is more “in your face.”

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In a Jan. 27 email, Adams said he talked about the increase in approvals with other judges. He said the only explanation “that we can come up (with) is the greater use of advocates in 2015.”

He said “any help someone can receive in framing the issue is very helpful and likely to lead to the granting of a temporary order.”

Keller had hoped a 2013 Superior Courtcourt decision would have meant that everyone who requested a temporary PFA would see a judge. That happened in some counties -- Bucks and Lancaster, for example, judges there said. But in York County, judges deny some temporary PFAs after reviewing the petition and without seeing the plaintiff.

In 2014, 43 petitions were denied without a hearing, Snyder said.

During the December interview, Adams said that in York County, people denied a temporary PFA without seeing a judge can still ask to see one. But Keller and Acker, local domestic violence advocates, weren’t aware of that, and they didn’t think plaintiffs were either.

In an email in mid-January, Adams said the court does not have a formal process for telling people they may speak with a judge in such cases. But he said the court is reviewing its procedures.

Melissa Rosenberry, whose temporary PFA was denied in October 2014, said in December that she doesn't understand why she didn’t see a judge at that time.

“The judge doesn't know exactly what you're going through until he hears your story,” she said.

Some county websites describe a screening process before petitions get to a judge. It's possible that requiring victims to file through an advocacy agency or giving certain vetting authority to non-judges could reduce how many requests get before a judge. That could skew the data that counties submit monthly as part of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts reports.

Art Heinz, spokesman for AOPC, said screenings vary by county, and his office doesn't have details on the separate processes for them.

Judge Joseph C. Adams and Stacy Snyder, deputy court administrator for family court, said York County does not have a screening in place.

"Our position is that every single petition, regardless of whether it has merit, has to get seen by a judge," Adams said. "It has to get in the system."

Adams said he’s heard from lawyers that there are screenings in some other counties.

But even without a screening in York County, there are fewer petitions for temporary PFA orders reaching judges here than across the rest of the state, when you adjust for the different populations in counties. It’s not clear why.

Over the five years from 2010 through 2014, there were about 16 requests for a temporary PFA for every 1,000 people statewide.

During the same period in York County, there were nine petitions for a temporary PFA order for every 1,000 people.

York Daily Record/Sunday News reporters reviewed more than 700 requests for temporary protection from abuse orders from 2014, based on four lists provided by York County's prothonotary office, which is where civil cases are filed.

The goal was to review all or nearly all temporary protection from abuse petitions and outcomes filed in the York County Court of Common Pleas in 2014.

The reporters reviewed about 720 petitions for a temporary protection order that were denied or granted for at least one person by a common pleas judge. Reporters sat in on several hearings in 2015 as part of the reporting process.

The YDR analysis of judges’ records did not include about 10 other cases that were either described in court documents as dismissed because the plaintiff failed to appear for the required temporary PFA hearing, or because they withdrew the request at the temporary PFA hearing.

However, President Judge Joseph C. Adams said it's possible that a plaintiff's failure to appear wasn't always noted in the court orders available in the prothonotary records. So, according to Adams, it's possible that some of the denials in the YDR analysis were because plaintiffs failed to appear.

Why are the numbers different from Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts data?

Each month, the York County court system reports the number of temporary protection from abuse orders requested, granted and denied. But court administration does not keep a master list of those cases. That’s why the YDR used a list based on prothonotary office records.

The county-wide data from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts is similar to what the YDR found.

The YDR analysis did not count cases in which people had temporary orders continued after being granted. The state does not count those cases either.


What should you do when caring for a victim of abuse? ›

Be caring, compassionate, and sensitive when speaking with victims of abuse. They may not be ready to talk about the abuse right away.
Guidelines for Talking to a Victim of Abuse
  1. Take time to listen. ...
  2. Take the disclosure seriously. ...
  3. Do not blame the person or suggest that the abuse was somehow their fault. ...
  4. Seek help.

Which are the 3 main warning signs that someone may be an abuser? ›

Warning Signs of an Abusive Person
  • Jealousy and Possessiveness. Wants to be with you constantly. ...
  • Controlling Behavior. ...
  • Quick Involvement. ...
  • Unrealistic Expectations. ...
  • Isolation. ...
  • Blames Others for Problems. ...
  • Blames Others for Feelings. ...
  • Hypersensitivity.

What are the four steps that a person can take to take action against abuse? ›

Five Ways to Take Action Against Abuse
  • Get educated. Abusive relationships are extremely complex, and usually have several forms of abuse happening within them. ...
  • The victim is the expert. ...
  • Have patience. ...
  • Learn about safety planning. ...
  • Practice self-care.
Jun 10, 2016

What are some indicators that you should be suspicious of abuse? ›

Indicators of maltreatment can include the following:
  • Obvious malnourishment, listlessness or fatigue.
  • Stealing or begging for food.
  • Lack of personal care – poor personal hygiene, torn and/or dirty clothes.
  • Untreated need for glasses, dental care or other medical attention.
  • Frequent absence from or tardiness to school.

How do you respond to suspected or alleged abuse? ›

Record of an allegation of suspected abuse.
  1. Listen to what the person says.
  2. Write down the exact words the person used when they disclosed it to you.
  3. Do not bombard them with questions: listen to what they say. ...
  4. Make sure your record distinguishes between fact and opinion.

How should a nurse respond when abuse is identified? ›

If a nurse suspects abuse or neglect, they should first report it to a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Notifying a supervisor may also be required, depending on the workplace. If the victim is with a suspected abuser, the exam should take place without that person in the room.

Is Gaslighting manipulated? ›

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which the abuser attempts to sow self-doubt and confusion in their victim's mind. Typically, gaslighters are seeking to gain power and control over the other person, by distorting reality and forcing them to question their own judgment and intuition.

What are the personality traits of an abuser? ›

Red flags and warning signs of an abuser include but are not limited to:
  • Extreme jealousy.
  • Possessiveness.
  • Unpredictability.
  • A bad temper.
  • Cruelty to animals.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Extremely controlling behavior.
  • Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships.

How do you tell if someone is lying about being abused? ›

Some common signs include:
  1. The person does not answer a question right away, but pauses or delays their answer as they try to think about what to say.
  2. The person looks away and will not make eye contact.
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Jan 2, 2020

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Victims should be treated with compassion and respect for their dignity. They are entitled to access to the mechanisms of justice and to prompt redress, as provided for by national legislation, for the harm that they have suffered.

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Both the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 and the Protection from Harassment Act 17 of 2011 were enacted to protect vulnerable members of society in South Africa.

How does domestic violence Amendment Act serves to protect human rights violation? ›

The Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 allows a victim of domestic abuse or violence to seek a Protection Order from the Magistrate's Court against the person who is committing the abuse.

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  • Withdrawal from friends or usual activities.
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The following indicators may indicate neglect:
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  • developmental delay.
  • prone to illness.
  • sallow or sickly appearance.
  • abnormally high appetite, stealing or hoarding food.
  • smelly or dirty appearance.
  • untreated medical conditions.

What would you do if you were told about an alleged abuse? ›

  1. stay calm and listen to them.
  2. offer them support.
  3. write down what they tell you using their own words.
  4. keep any evidence safe.
  5. get in touch with us or the police.
  6. dial 999 in an emergency.
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Disclosure: Responding to Children Who Report Abuse
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  3. Tell them that you will get them the help that they need.
  4. Don't promise that the information they say will be kept confidential.

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Protect the client from further harm. Employees who fail to respond immediately and protect the client from further harm following reports of suspected, observed or alleged abuse and neglect are in breach of duty of care.

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For nurses being a mandated reporter means that it is a nurse's responsibility to report any suspicions of child or adult abuse or neglect. If the story just doesn't fit, the nurse needs to be suspicious. If the child or adult suggest they have been abused, the nurse needs to report.

What do nurses do if they suspect abuse? ›

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Suggested Reporting Procedure

Make a telephone report to the appropriate law enforcement agency immediately, or as soon as is practically possible. Complete the OCJP 920: Suspicious Injury Report Form and send within two working days to the law enforcement agency that has been notified by telephone.

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Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which a person or group causes someone to question their own sanity, memories, or perception of reality. People who experience gaslighting may feel confused, anxious, or as though they cannot trust themselves.

What is narcissistic gaslighting? ›

Narcissistic gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that involves intentionally manipulating or distorting the truth to instill self-doubt in someone. 1,2,3. Gaslighting is a form of narcissistic abuse that involves tactics that cause a person to question their sanity and doubt their perception of reality.

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The psychological abuser is usually a rigid and intolerant person who does not respect the opinions and decisions of others. Normally is a person full of prejudices and stereotypes that often react aggressively when something does not match his or her plans and expectations.

Who would be a potential abuser? ›

It has been estimated that roughly two-thirds of those harming a vulnerable adult are family members, most often the victim's adult child or spouse. Research has shown that in most instances the abuser is financially dependent on the vulnerable adult's resources and have problems related to alcohol and drugs.

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Because of a desperate need to avoid the horrific sense of shame that lurks deep inside most abusive personalities, he truly believes his own lies and distortions of reality. This level of distortion is scary, yet true—and it's also extremely difficult for the victim to deal with.

What happens if you lie about being abused? ›

While individuals who lie about domestic violence may be charged with perjury, it is unlike to happen. Additionally, the accuser could be charged with filing a false police report, a misdemeanor offense.

How can the government help the victims of crime? ›

The government provides services to victims through the police, in hospitals, in the criminal justice system and in court, as well as through social services.

What are the basic rights of victims? ›

The right to receive information: You have the right to be informed of your rights and how to exercise them. The right to protection: You have the right to be free from intimidation, harassment, fear, tampering, bribery, corruption and abuse. You should report such threats to the police or prosecutor.

What does the Constitution say about domestic violence? ›

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Can domestic violence case be withdrawn? ›

You will have to file an application for withdrawal of case through an advocate. Along with the application your affidavit will be filed mentioning the reason for withdrawal.

What happens if you're charged with common assault South Africa? ›

In South Africa, this type of assault is identified by the description “assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm”, which is more commonly referred to as “assault GBH”. Assault GBH normally carries a heavier sentence, such as imprisonment, whereas common assault is usually only penalised with a fine.

Which laws protect human rights violations? ›

  • Human rights: you are protected by the Constitution. Human rights are the basic rights a person is born with. ...
  • Equality. Every person has the right to be treated equally and to receive equal protection of the law. ...
  • Privacy. ...
  • Human dignity. ...
  • Freedom of expression. ...
  • Religious freedom. ...
  • Arrested persons. ...
  • Labour relations.

How the law the citizens and community can protect and support victims of human rights violations? ›

On the support of victims of human rights violation, the law should clearly state and express the repercussions of violating human rights. The citizen on the other hand should be well versed with human rights and should report any violator of human rights to the relevant authorities for immediate action to be taken.

How can the community support victims of human rights violations? ›

Organizing or joining a campaigning group in your local community is a great way to meet like-minded people and take action on the issues you care about. Local groups can help spread the word about Amnesty's campaigns with stalls at music events, bars or festivals.

When caring for a victim of abuse you should? ›

What should I do if I know or suspect that someone is being...
  1. Take time to listen. It may take some time for a victim of abuse to start telling their story. ...
  2. Take the disclosure seriously. ...
  3. Do not blame the person or suggest that the abuse was somehow their fault. ...
  4. Seek help. ...
  5. Help the victim connect with resources.

Who is the first person you should report allegations of abuse and neglect to? ›

Allegations of crimes should be reported to the most appropriate law enforcement agency, especially if an immediate response is critical. IF THERE IS IMMEDIATE DANGER or A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CALL 911 and then inform your supervisor.

What are three causes of abuse? ›

What causes child abuse
  • isolation and lack of support — no family members, friends, partners or community support to help with the demands of parenting.
  • stress — financial pressures, job worries, medical problems or caring for a family member with a disability.
Mar 21, 2018

What to do if you are a victim? ›

Tips for Coping
  1. Find someone to talk with about how you feel and what you are going through. ...
  2. Allow yourself to feel the pain. ...
  3. Keep a journal.
  4. Spend time with others, but make time to spend time alone.
  5. Take care of your mind and body. ...
  6. Re-establish a normal routine as soon as possible, but don't over-do.

How do you advise a victim? ›

Tips for Responding to Victims' Three Major Needs
  1. Introduce yourself to victims by name and title. ...
  2. Reassure victims of their safety and your concern by paying close attention to your own words, posture, mannerisms, and tone of voice. ...
  3. Ask victims to tell you in just a sentence or two what happened.

What do you say when someone opens up to you about abuse? ›

  1. “Thank you for sharing.”
  2. “You are not to blame for what happened to you.”
  3. “You didn't deserve what happened to you.”
  4. “I'm sorry this happened to you.”
  5. “You are not what was done to you.”
  6. “That was abuse, not healthy sexuality.”
  7. “I support you in your healing process.”
  8. “I respect you for addressing this.”
Feb 27, 2019

The beach trip was the best ever because a custody court judge decided to protect them.. Their mother will never be abused by him again, either.. The girls understand what too many judges don’t—that you can’t enjoy the best times with your family when you live your life in fear of an abuser.. The attorneys for the mother, grandparents, and children quietly waited, knowing they had done all they could to protect the girls from their abusive father and hoping it was enough.. The father’s abuse had severe consequences to the mother and the children.. The father tried to use unscientific alienation theories to deny the harm he caused.. Most of the harm is not from any immediate physical injuries but from living with the fear and stress their abusers cause.. The scientific research is clear that limiting protection to abuse that is physical is a mistake.. We don’t want to compare the damage in this case with a more typical case, but based on the ACE Research , all children in any DV case will face shorter lives and a lifetime of health and social problems.. ACE is peer-reviewed medical research that comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.. The father in this case admitted his assaults on the mother, so there was no issue that the mother made up her reports.. Domestic violence is about control, including financial control.. In these cases the abuser gains custody and a safe, protective mother is limited to supervised or no visitation.. We can help these children.

Everyone has the right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.. Abuse and neglect can occur anywhere: in your own home or a public place, while you're in hospital or attending a day centre, or in a college or care home.. There are many forms of abuse and neglect.. indecent exposure sexual harassment inappropriate looking or touching sexual teasing or innuendo sexual photography being forced to watch pornography or sexual acts being forced or pressured to take part in sexual acts rape. emotional abuse threats to hurt or abandon you stopping you from seeing people humiliating, blaming, controlling, intimidating or harassing you verbal abuse cyberbullying and isolation an unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or support networks. If you feel you are being abused or neglected:. do not worry about making a fuss – tell someone you trust as soon as possible speak to friends or care workers who may have an understanding of the situation and be able to take steps quickly to improve the situation talk to professionals such as a GP or social worker about your concerns, or ask to speak to your local council's adult safeguarding team or co-ordinator call the Hourglass helpline on 0808 808 8141 for advice if you believe a crime is being, or has been, committed – whether it's physical abuse or financial – talk to the police or ask someone you trust to do so on your behalf. Someone being abused may make excuses for why they're bruised, may not want to go out or talk to people, or may be short of money.. It's important to know the signs of abuse and, where they're identified, gently share your concerns with the person you think may be being abused.. Behavioural signs of abuse in an older person include:. If you feel someone you know is showing signs of being abused, talk to them to see if there's anything you can do to help.. If they're being abused, they may not want to talk about it straight away, especially if they've become used to making excuses for their injuries or changes in personality.. If an adult is being abused or neglected, it's important to find help for them and stop the harm.. It can be very difficult for an abused or neglected person to talk about what's been happening to them.. If you're right and the person has been abused or neglected, ask them what they'd like you to do.

(For victims of elder abuse, the risk of death is estimated to be three times higher than for seniors who haven't been abused, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse .). But physical assault by a family member, neighbor, or caregiver definitely is considered elder abuse if it happens to a senior.. Neglect is also frequently considered a form of elder abuse, as is sexual assault, psychological mistreatment, and financial exploitation when there is an expectation of trust between the victim and perpetrator.. How many seniors experience elder abuse?. Generally speaking, the signs of abuse or neglect in the elderly are associated with particular types of mistreatment.. People who abuse or neglect seniors may:. Chronic illness or disability Dementia Depression or other mental health issues Recent losses of friends or loved ones Loneliness or social isolation Poor relationships with family members Lack of cultural or community support Substance abuse Anything that's extra challenging for caregivers (such as incontinence or sundowners syndrome ) Poor financial or technological literacy Predictable financial deposits Low income Valuable assets Sharing a living space Having caregivers who lack the necessary skills, feel tired and overwhelmed, abuse drugs or alcohol, or have financial or mental health problems. Your emotions may be conflicted, but choose to do what's necessary in order to protect yourself or the senior in your life who you suspect is being mistreated.. Otherwise, call Adult Protective Services (APS) in your state.. APS exists to protect vulnerable seniors and investigate reports of alleged abuse or neglect.

The Act introduces a new civil Domestic Abuse Protection Notice (DAPN) to provide immediate protection following a domestic abuse incident, and a new civil Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO) to provide flexible, longer-term protection for victims.. The survivors Refuge work with consistently report that existing injunctions are limited in their effectiveness… Refuge, therefore, welcomes the provisions establishing the new consolidated Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO) and that breach of a DAPO will be a criminal offence.. We will also enable criminal, family, and civil courts to make a DAPO of their own volition during existing court proceedings, which do not have to be domestic abuse-related.. There are a range of existing orders that can be used in domestic abuse cases, including Non-Molestation Orders, Occupation Orders, Restraining Orders and DVPOs.. To make a DAPO the court must be satisfied that the order is necessary and proportionate to protect the victim from domestic abuse or the risk of domestic abuse.. We will continue to work with local areas to support effective commissioning of domestic abuse services, including high-quality, safe, and accredited perpetrator programmes.. All DAPOs carry notification requirements requiring the person subject to the order to notify the police of their name and home address and of any changes to this information, thereby assisting the police to monitor the perpetrator’s whereabouts and the risk they pose to the victim.. Any person can apply for a DAPO, provided that the court gives them leave to apply.. The Act enables victims and the police to apply without leave of the court, and any other person to apply with leave of the court.

When Cherin Marie joined Christ Our Light Anglican Church in Big Rock, Illinois, in 2013, she trusted that the community of a few dozen — many of whom were family members, longtime church friends, or neighbors — would care for her and her kids.. According to Cherin, who asked that her last name not be used in order to protect her daughter’s identity, church leaders not only failed to report the allegations to the police or to the Department of Children and Family Services, but some also pressured her not to go to the police.. But, according to Cherin, after York confronted Rivera privately, he called a meeting between Cherin, Rivera, and Chris Lapeyre, senior warden and worship pastor at COLA and a visiting assistant lecturer at nearby Wheaton College.. Lapeyre then told Cherin, “It sounds like you don’t need to (report the allegations) either,” according to Cherin.. York did not explain why he thought this was not a DCFS matter, but Lapeyre said because Cherin’s daughter had originally come to know Rivera in a personal capacity, and because he believed the allegations were not connected with the church, Philbrick did not think York was required by law to report the alleged abuse to the police or to the DCSF.. At that point, according to Cherin, Lapeyre admitted Cherin ought to report Rivera.. As the COLA community learned of the allegations against Rivera, Cherin said an additional COLA member pressured Cherin not to go to the authorities.. York also said Cherin’s position on the vestry was a conflict of interest because the panel was providing financial assistance to both Cherin’s and Rivera’s families.. Although Rivera was stripped of the title of catechist the day after Cherin shared the allegations with Rand, none of the clergy who had been informed of the alleged abuse, including York and Beasley, reported it to the police.. Deacon Val McIntyre, head of pastoral care at Church of the Resurrection, said she would report the allegations to Ruch and promised personalized pastoral care plans for each member of Cherin’s family.. During this time, Church of the Resurrection did not make any announcements about the allegations against Rivera, who had been in various volunteer leadership positions at the church from the mid-1990s until 2013, according to Cherin.

Child abuse and neglect in the home is but one aspect of the larger set of problems related to child maltreatment that occurs in a variety of places and by people with varied relationships to the victim.§§ This guide is limited to addressing the particular harms created by child abuse and neglect that occurs in the home, typically by the child's caretaker or someone close to the caretaker (e.g., the mother's boyfriend).. As a result, collecting sufficient evidence to determine whether a crime occurred and to identify effective responses to the problem is very difficult.. Types of Child Abuse and Neglect No single, universally accepted definition of child maltreatment exists.. Sexual abuse , involving varying degrees of coercion and violence.. Compounding the problem of the high incidence of child abuse and neglect, many families who come to the attention of child protective services have subsequent referrals for suspected maltreatment.. Thus, it is essential for police and child protective services to identify the situations in which child abuse and neglect are likely to occur so that they can implement appropriate responses.. Some states require any person to report suspected abuse.. Most often, professionals must make a report when they suspect maltreatment has occurred.. Some states require all reports to be made to child protective services, some require certain reports to be made to the local law enforcement agency, and some give the reporter discretion whether to report to child protective services or to law enforcement.. Many states' reporting laws require child protective services to relay at least a subset of reports to police (e.g., in the case of serious injury or death of the victim).. While child protective services may be the intended recipient of a suspected child abuse report, an agency representative may not be available when an immediate response is needed.. Children are at highest risk of sexual abuse from ages seven to 12, although sexual abuse among very young children does occur and is often undetected because of their inability to communicate what is happening to them.. Neglect .. 21 Neglect .. Family Factors 22 Children in single-parent families may be at higher risk of physical abuse and neglect, although the effects of poverty, stress, social isolation, and lack of support are all contributing factors.

Post-separation abuse analysis almost never mentions alleged abusers’ litigation and economic abuse as a continuation of domestic violence or the likelihood an abuser will assault future partners which means custody or unsupervised visitation will result in more exposure of children to domestic violence.. Many domestic violence cases do not include an evaluation, but the judges and other court professionals are influenced by the misinformation evaluators provided in other cases.. Few evaluators relied on by custody courts have the critical knowledge needed to recognize and respond effectively to possible domestic violence or child abuse cases.. The courts are influenced by the superior financial resources of abusers who usually control family finances, and the cottage industry of lawyers and evaluators that make large incomes by promoting practices that favor abusive fathers.. Some judges cannot imagine how a DV expert can help a court recognize errors by evaluators regarding DV and child abuse.. Examples include: child refused to speak to caseworker; not enough time to investigate; failure to take cases during litigation seriously; the child is living with the safe parent; caseworker manipulated or intimidated by abuser; reliance on the myth that mothers often make deliberate false reports; and the lack of expertise regarding DV and child sexual abuse.. Perhaps the biggest reason custody courts are failing children in abuse cases is the failure to use scientific research like ACE and Saunders.. Saunders tells us courts are relying on the wrong experts for abuse cases and this results in courts frequently disbelieving true reports of abuse.. ACE did not make domestic violence and child abuse more harmful to children, but rather made us aware of the full harm caused by our long tolerance of behavior we now define as domestic violence and child abuse.. Abusers and too often court professionals minimize a father’s abuse to keep him in a child’s life.

Men and women can both be victims to this type of situation, but in most cases, women are usually the victims, while more times than not, men are found to be the aggressors.. These are common concerns among different people and their circumstances.. They may feel that there is no one else that could possibly take care of them.. Most domestic violence cases reveal that women are more often the victim.. These are also common characteristics of women that are at greater risk of becoming a domestic violence victim.. Previously been abused Feel stuck in a poor situation The victim may be an alcohol or substance abuser Their partner is a alcohol/substance abuser The victim has requested a restraining order on the abuser Has recently left the abuser The victim is pregnant. These children usually don’t get the care that they need at home.. If you, or someone you know is the victim of a domestic violence situation, know that it is not your fault, and that you can find the help that you need.

(RNS) — When Cherin Marie joined Christ Our Light Anglican Church in Big Rock, Illinois, in 2013, she trusted that the community of a few dozen — many of whom were family members, longtime church friends or neighbors — would care for her and her kids.. According to Cherin, who asked that her last name not be used in order to protect her daughter’s identity, church leaders not only failed to report the allegations to the police or to the Department of Children and Family Services, but some also pressured her not to go to the police.. After her daughter made her allegations against Rivera, Cherin said she told York.. But, according to Cherin, after York confronted Rivera privately, he called a meeting between Cherin, Rivera and Chris Lapeyre, senior warden and worship pastor at COLA and a visiting assistant lecturer at nearby Wheaton College.. Lapeyre then told Cherin, “It sounds like you don’t need to (report the allegations) either,” according to Cherin.. He did not explain why he thought this was not a DCFS matter, but Lapeyre said because Cherin’s daughter had originally come to know Rivera in a personal capacity, and because he believed the allegations were not connected with the church, Philbrick did not think York was required by law to report the alleged abuse to the police or to the DCSF.. York also claims that Cherin asked him to wait to report to the authorities until she decided what to do, an assertion Cherin disputes.. At that point, according to Cherin, Lapeyre admitted Cherin ought to report Rivera.. As the COLA community learned of the allegations against Rivera, Cherin said an additional COLA member pressured Cherin not to go to the authorities.. York also said Cherin’s position on the vestry was a conflict of interest because the panel was providing financial assistance to both Cherin’s and Rivera’s families.. Although Rivera was stripped of the title of catechist the day after Cherin shared the allegations with Rand, none of the clergy who had been informed of the alleged abuse — including York and Beasley — reported it to the police.. Though no longer catechist, Rivera continued to be an active member of COLA until his arrest on June 10, 2019, three weeks after Cherin told church leaders.. Deacon Val McIntyre, head of pastoral care at Church of the Resurrection, said she would report the allegations to Ruch and promised personalized pastoral care plans for each member of Cherin’s family.. During this time, Church of the Resurrection did not make any announcements about the allegations against Rivera, who had been in various volunteer leadership positions at the church from the mid-1990s until 2013, according to Cherin.

At the start of this year, 24,000 people were in the system, including nearly 4,600 because of a restraining order.. The day after Calley made her report to Chowchilla Police in May 2020, Julio Garay was arrested for assault, domestic violence, child abuse and making threats.. If there is a registered firearm, or the person asking for the order indicates the abuser is armed, the judge will ask about alleged guns at a hearing to make a record of the issue.. In the three cases CalMatters found where the court issued a full restraining order against an allegedly armed abuser, two of the men filed proof they surrendered guns.. Julio’s 2020 date to appear before a criminal court judge was pushed back from mid-July to Sept. 14 because law enforcement needed time to interview the children, according to the district attorney.

A change in law in New York has allowed for the filing of more than 9,000 child abuse claims - including cases against Prince Andrew, Bob Dylan and high-profile Catholic priests - previously blocked by the state's statute of limitations.. By the time Mr Andriola was ready to publicly disclose his story, the statute of limitations to bring suit in New York state, where the abuse took place, had expired.. New York's Child Victims Act (CVA) suspended the statute of limitations on child abuse cases for two years - allowing potential victims to bring civil suits they couldn't previously have pursued.. Before the CVA, victims of child sex abuse in New York had until their 21st birthday - three years after becoming an adult in the eyes of the state - to file civil claims.. In Massachusetts, where former-cardinal Mr McCarrick faces criminal charges, the typical limitation for sex crimes is suspended when the alleged abuser, if not a Massachusetts resident, leaves the state after the alleged abuse.

Too often, through my professional work for a mental health trust and endlessly as the founder of Restitute , I come across professional staffing strategies encouraging members of staff to maintain boundaries, focus on their own mental health, and acknowledge that their work is emotionally demanding and can evoke feelings of frustration, anxiety or stress.. Working with survivors and families who are living with the impact of serious sexual violence is distressing, particularly when children are involved.. Public health, mental health services, voluntary organisations focusing on the specific issues, family support workers, the police and criminal justice service as well as social care spend vast swathes of their budgets on either dealing with the crises such families suffer, or attempting to prevent children growing up to perpetuate the damage of their own childhood experiences onto their own families.. Services react when a family is identified as being ‘in need.’ But their preventative work only begins long after much of the damage has been done, hidden behind the closed doors of families deemed ‘good enough’ as the police case is closed, the child protection orders are removed or stepped down to the level of no active involvement.. Social services will say that health visitors, children’s schools and GPs are told the details of the children who have survived childhood sexual abuse or domestic violence.. Too many professionals from the police and mental health services said that she was old enough to make her own decisions and she should have to learn to live with her mistakes and the consequences, effectively giving me permission to abandon her and create a first generation ‘toxic trio’ family, right down to the unplanned pregnancy that unknown to me at the time, she miscarried alone.. Most likely, she would have been pregnant again with services stepping in to offer ‘early intervention’ into a developing ‘troubled family’, when of course, that early intervention should have happened a decade ago, regardless of the protective factors our ‘good enough’ family offered.. We had no information – mental health services and education assessed and offered art therapy, but no-one said to us right at the beginning, when there was the first mention of sexual violence aged about 11: “Your daughter is at risk of developing self-harming coping strategies, she is at increased risk of addiction and impulsive behaviour, you will have to fight the battle of your life to simply keep her alive.” Most importantly, no-one said: “…and here are the tools you will need, here are the services that will support you to keep it together, and here is the money you need to allow you to care for her without falling into poverty.”. What we offer is bespoke to each client – you would be amazed at how much benefit a skip, or a cat flap or a deep-clean of a family home can make to families living daily with trauma, guilt and shame.. Restitute is a community interest company set up to support those who care for survivors of sexual or violent crime – the parents, carers, children, close friends and partners who are ‘third-party’ victims of crime, who experience the devastating psychological, financial and practical impact of providing care, often over many years .

But domestic abuse includes any attempt by one person in a marriage or intimate relationship to dominate and control the other.. There are many signs of an abusive relationship, and a fear of your partner is the most telling.. feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?. blame you for their own abusive behavior?. Physical abuse occurs when physical force is used against you in a way that injures or endangers you.. Many people are emotionally and verbally assaulted.. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior are also forms of emotional abuse.. You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with physical wounds.. Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse does not take place because an abuser loses control over their behavior.. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display.. Abusers are able to control their behavior—they do it all the time Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse.. “Normal” behavior – Your partner does everything in their power to regain control and ensure that you’ll stay in the relationship.. Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner Go along with everything their partner says and does Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness. People who have been emotionally or physically abused are often depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused.


1. Court Cam: Mother Gets Wrongfully Arrested After Officers Accuse Her of Lying | A&E
2. RAW: Body cam shows domestic violence victim thrown to ground, handcuffed | KVUE
3. Johnny Depp, Amber Heard File Notice of Appeal to Challenge Verdict
(Law&Crime Network)
4. If you’ve been served with an order of protection, watch this.
(Stegall Law Firm)
5. Court Cam: Judge Put on Trial for Threatening Children in Open Court | A&E
6. Amber Heard’s Former Partner EXPOSES Her For Ruining Her More Than What She Did To Johnny Depp
(Film Streak)

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