SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – On the heels of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, parenting journalist and expert Donna Tetreault speaks with Jonathan Schiller, a family law attorney, about what society needs to be aware of when it comes to domestic violence.
“One of the most important things to understand about domestic violence is what forms of domestic violence exist,” says Schiller. “To identify the problem, you have to know what it is.”
Schiller says most people may think domestic violence is just physical, but nowadays all forms of violence are recognized and better understood. Some examples include using power, control, coercion, threats, intimidation, emotional abuse, financial abuse, using gender privilege in certain cases, using children as pawns.
If you know or believe someone is being abused, what can you do to help?
Schiller says if you’re close to the victim, direct assistance is possible, but most likely, indirect assistance will be the way to help.
“Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence, if they need to seek some sort of civil relief from the courts or even seek criminal charges through law enforcement, generally those things have to be done on their own individually unless it’s abuse of a child,” says Schiller. “In that situation, a parent could bring some sort of immediate action to protect the child.”
“But in most instances, it really is about ‘If you see something, say something,’” says Schiller.
It’s important to look for signs of domestic violence such as isolation and bruising on their body. Suggesting the victim contact an anonymous hotline or even law enforcement are some ways they can reach out for help. If you know the victim well, you can approach them directly and offer emotional and financial assistance if possible.
“Sometimes, one of the things that preclude people from coming forward to protect themselves is the lack of a safety plan,” says Schiller. “So sometimes having the assistance of a family or friend can help put people in a better position to come forward and get the immediate relief they need.”
Other great ways to help include educating and informing the victim with the resources they need, especially legal information, so they can be empowered and prepared to seek relief.
To check out the full conversation about domestic violence awareness, watch the video above.