Some first responders blame victims of domestic violence

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Domestic Violence on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

Many victims of domestic violence in Illinois may not know what to do when physical abuse becomes an emergency except to dial 911 and hope that first responders will be able to help keep them safe. Family law can provide a temporary restraining order or permanent protective order, but not everyone in a dispute over legal issues will abide by them, meaning that police and paramedics may be needed. The attitudes of first responders may disappoint or even horrify those making emergency calls after a custody dispute or other family issues go south.

A recent survey of emergency medical professionals by a team of mental health and social work specialists points to a crisis in “victim blaming” that may undermine the confidence of those who would call upon first responders during an incident of domestic violence. They found that fully a third of emergency medical personnel consider domestic violence to be a normal reaction to everyday frustration and stress, indicating that they might see a request for emergency assistance in such a scenario as excessive.

An even higher percentage, 35 percent, expressed the belief that victims who remain in situations involving domestic abuse, whether they file a protective order such as a temporary restraining order or not, are responsible for any domestic abuse that follows the first incident. Perhaps most alarming is that 21 percent of those interviewed agreed that “battered women secretly want to be abused” or were neutral regarding the statement.

First responders and other emergency medical personnel have a difficult job and likely do the best they can in horrific circumstances. However, a lawyer with experience and understanding of family law may be of assistance once the emergency is over and legal issues can be addressed to help protect those victims of domestic abuse.

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