Individuals in Illinois and throughout America who are harmed by a family member could be considered victims of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse may also occur if the victim lives with his or her abuser. An individual does not necessarily need to be physically harmed to be considered the victim of a crime. It is possible for an individual to inflict economic, sexual or emotional harm on another person.

Economic abuse could include not allowing a victim to hold a job or retain access to the money that he or she has earned. Emotional abuse may occur if an individual is made to feel unworthy of love or affection. In some cases, an individual may be charged with domestic battery, which is considered a form of domestic abuse. However, a person could be charged with battery whether or not they actually hurt his or her victim.

Depending on the facts of a case, an abuser could be charged with rape, stalking or other crimes. If a person is convicted of domestic violence, he or she could face penalties that are harsher than those handed down in a typical assault case. In many cases, a person who is convicted of domestic violence will be ordered to stay away from his or her victim.

A person who has been hit, yelled at or otherwise abused by a spouse or other family member may wish to take legal action against an abuser. This may make it possible to obtain compensation for damages incurred or to pursue a protective order against an abuser. If the perpetrator has custody or visitation rights to a victim’s children, those rights may be terminated by a judge. An attorney may be able to help a person obtain a favorable outcome in a domestic violence case.