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The impact of emotional abuse

A previous post here discussed how, under Illinois law, a person need not be a victim of actual physical abuse in order to obtain a restraining order. Under the right circumstances, a person can still get a restraining order against a partner or former partner who engages in behavior that would best be described as "emotional abuse."

Although some might be skeptical of giving a restraining order to someone who has not been physically touched or, perhaps, not even threatened with bodily harm, the impact of emotional abuse on a domestic violence victim cannot be underestimated. Although how one responds to emotional abuse will obviously vary from person to person, in some cases, people walk away from emotional abuse permanently scarred.

At a minimum, emotional abuse is going to leave a person with lowered self-esteem, in part because, as the name implies, emotional abuse involves the perpetrator using words and passive-aggressive behavior to belittle the victim and make him or her feel unworthy of love. In serious cases, a person's behavior and personality may alter, and they may also suffer clinical depression or thoughts of suicide.

The fact that emotional abuse has a real impact on the daily lives of its victims is one reason Illinois law recognizes that, in some situations, emotional abuse can and should be prevented via a restraining order. A restraining order can also help a victim address child custody in order to protect their children from similar abuse. To get a restraining order, if often helps for victims of domestic violence to get the help of an experienced family law attorney with knowledge of Illinois domestic violence and restraining order laws.

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