When domestic violence occurs in a home, it can have long-ranging impacts on all family members. As an experienced New Jersey family law attorney, our top priority is protecting you from your abuser and taking the steps needed to ensure your physical safety. However, we also know that emotional recovery can take long months or even years after the abuse has stopped. In these situations, it is important to be aware of the treatment options offered throughout the state which can help heal the inner scars you and other family members may still carry.
The Lingering Effects of Domestic Violence
According to the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), there are roughly 60,000 incidents of domestic violence reported throughout our area each year. These incidents occur in marriages, among couples who are living together, and in dating relationships. Physical assaults occur in nearly half of all cases, while 40% of victims report ongoing harassment from their abuser. In addition to acts such as hitting, pushing, and punching, domestic violence can take the form of verbal abuse such as name calling and put downs, threats and acts of intimidation, or sexual harassment and assault.
Make no mistake — even when abuse is not physical, it can have a traumatic effect on the victims involved. You may have been forced to live in fear or shame for months or even years due to what was going on, isolating you from family and friends. Reporting the abuse, getting away from the abuser, and taking the legal actions needed to protect yourself is also challenging and stressful. The overall experience can have lingering effects on both your personal and professional life. According to Psychology Today, post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) is common in the aftermath. Symptoms may include:
- Depression and overwhelming feelings of sadness;
- Increased anxiety and nervousness;
- Fear of leaving the home or of being in public;
- Sleep disorders, such as insomnia;
- Eating disorders, resulting in weight loss or gain;
- Nightmares and flashbacks, in which the victim relives the experience.
Unfortunately, NJSP reports indicate that in roughly a third of all domestic violence cases, children are either in the home or present when the abuse occurs, as well. As a result, they are likely to experience lingering side effects and symptoms in the aftermath, too.
Domestic Violence Recovery
Once you have reached out for help in taking the legal steps needed to protect yourself and your family against domestic violence, there are other resources available that can help you emotionally recover. The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) offers domestic violence services which include:
- Peace: A Learned Solution (PALS) Program: This program offers intensive therapeutic treatment for both children and parents who have suffered domestic abuse. It uses creative arts, such as dance and drama, to help children between the ages of 4 and 12 express themselves. For parents, there are support services and counseling available.
- Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): Specifically designed to help children and parents overcome symptoms of PTSD due to domestic violence, this program offers help for trauma related depression while providing coping skills to aid in recovery.
Additional services include a 24-hour hotline and access to a safe house, financial and housing counseling, and community services that allow you to network with other survivors.
Reach Out to Our New Jersey Family Law Attorney
At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we provide caring support and trusted legal representation to protect people in situations where they are experiencing abuse. If you need help, reach out and contact our Milltown domestic violence attorney to request a confidential consultation today.