If you are in immediate danger, do not hesitate to call 911.

The Shelter of Gaston County 24 hour Crisis Line is 704-852-6000.

Domestic violence is the threat or use of physical, sexual, emotional and/or economic abuse against a current or former spouse, intimate partner, or household member. It includes assaults, exploitation, property destruction, theft, false imprisonment, isolation, stalking, sexual coercion, arson, sleep disruption, ridicule and threats of homicide or suicide. It may also include interference with work, worship, education, healthcare, recreation and family. It often involves surveillance of the abused partner. It produces terror. Domestic violence is intentional. It is not a loss of control. It is not driven by impulse or emotional outburst. It is exactly the opposite. Domestic violence is behavior designed to gain control and instill fear in victims.

Abusers do not abuse all of the time. They may merely refer to past acts of violence and promise to repeat the violence, if partners do not comply with their rules and directives.

Most batterers create rules to bolster their control over partners. They carefully enforce those rules and the punishment for breaking them often includes violence.

According to several sources, there are several types of abuse:

  1. Emotional abuse, which is sometimes hard to define and recognize, can be very damaging and can easily get out of control. It could include placing someone in fear of imminent serious bodily harm by threat of force. This may include threats of violence and statements like “I will hit you”, “If you leave, I will hurt you,” or “If you tell anyone, I will kill you.”
  2. Physical abuse, which sometimes begins small, such as by pushing or shoving, can escalate and lead to serious injury, and too often, death. The legal definition of domestic violence in North Carolina includes kicking, beating, grabbing, using a weapon against you (like a knife, gun, or hammer), slapping, hitting, pushing, shoving, pulling your hair, throwing you (on the floor, down stairs, etc.) or throwing something at you or near you in order to scare you.
  3. Destructive abuse is when the abuser becomes explosive and destroys things that are important to you to hurt you and cause tremendous emotional trauma. Destruction of your possessions to make you believe you might get physically hurt (like ripping your clothes or destroying your personal items) is also abuse.
  4. Sexual abuse has become more prevalent in our society today. It can be confusing to determine if a relationship is normal or actually abusive. Force sex is abuse.
  5. Stalking – Under North Carolina Law, following on more than one occasion or otherwise harassing, as defined in G.S. 14-277.3(c), another person without legal purpose with the intent to place the person in reasonable fear either for the person’s safety or the safety of the person’s immediate family or close personal associates. Or, cause that person to suffer substantial emotional distress by placing that person in fear of death, bodily injury, or continued harassment and that in fact causes that person substantial emotional distress.

Many victims are embarrassed or deny that they are abused and may feel that it is easier to endure the abuse than to start over with a new life. The fear of change can keep them in abusive homes or relationships.

The psychological effects of domestic violence on children can last the rest of their lives. Frequently, they may blame themselves or live anxiously waiting for the next violent episode. Children may be hurt when items are thrown or weapons are used. Older children may be hurt while trying to protect the ones being abused. Nearly 70% of all children in abusive homes are being abused, either physically or sexually. Boys who witness abuse of their mother are more likely to batter their partners when they grow up then boys raised in non violent households.

If you are being abused or are in fear of abuse, Attorney Bob Ferguson can help you get a domestic violence protective order (also known as a 50-B).

Our office can also advise you how to protect yourself and your children and how to collect and save evidence of domestic abuse and threats against you or your children.

On the other hand, if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, you have the right to defend a civil action brought against you pursuant to North Carolina General Statutes Section 50B. The entry of a permanent order of domestic violence can not only affect other issues related to the end of a marriage or relationship, it can cause serious problems for the party against whom the order is entered.

Call 704-867-2828 to schedule a consultation regarding your family law matter.