September 21, 2011
Domestic Abuse Statistics Sobering
Statistics regarding domestic abuse in New York show that the “least safe place for a woman… is her own home.” With “44 percent” of them killed by a partner. If you are being abused, or are ready to leave an abusive relationship, contact an abuse helpline service or your local police before you do anything to ensure your own safety and the safety of the rest of your family.
A few weeks ago, I ran across a truly jarring statistic, and I still can’t shake it from my thoughts.
Data collected by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice shows that, for the second year in a row, 44 percent of all women killed in New York were killed by an intimate partner.
As State Division of Criminal Justice Services acting commissioner Sean Byrne pointed out to WCBS, “That means the least safe place for a woman in New York State is her own home.”
Unfortunately, I’ve seen firsthand just how true this statement is. Over the years, I’ve been retained by quite a few women who, at the time, were in physically and/or mentally abusive relationships.
We all know that even under the best of circumstances, divorce is complicated and emotionally trying. For these women, though, the process is exponentially harder. Typically, they know very little about their family finances because controlling husbands are extremely secretive about financial matters. And, of course, women in abusive relationships live under the very real threat of physical violence if their husbands get angry and/or suspicious.
Many are simply frozen with fear. They’re terrified about their own safety and the safety of their children.
It’s something I’ve seen far too many times, and I’ve decided I’m going to do what I can to help. Currently, I am in the process of establishing a non-profit charity that will help abused women get the legal and financial advice they need to divorce their spouse.
After all, physical abuse is usually associated with what Jeffrey A. Friedman, Executive Director of The Retreat, calls “financial abuse.”
The Retreat, which is located in The Hamptons on Long Island, NY, is an organization that works to break the cycle of family violence while also providing safety, shelter and support for domestic abuse victims. As Jeff sees it, the correlation between physical and financial abuse is strong and can lead to long-term debilitating consequences.
“Domestic Violence is all about power and control,” he told me. “More often than not an abuser can control a victim by controlling the finances in the household. Money is the means that they can ensure financial dependence. Financial abuse can mean: preventing you from getting or keeping a job, having you to account for every penny spent, denying access to check book/account/finances, threatening to force you out of the house and make you homeless and demanding your paychecks. Financial abuse can have serious and long term effects. Victims can become trapped in a cycle of poverty, can experience unhealthy physical and psychological effects and feel hopeless and trapped in the abusive environment.”
If you have questions about this posting or are interested in Divorce, Immigration, or Estate Law in RI or MA contact Massachusetts and Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Rui P. Alves at 401-942-3100 or CONTACT him via email.