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Domestic abusers may increase pressure after separation

If your life has been cast into darkness due to domestic violence, you know how difficult it is to get back into the light. A domestic abuser can use a host of strategies to control his or her victims. But it is imperative for your health and well-being to extricate yourself from the situation and this is especially true if you have children.

Having to witness violence between parents can be extremely traumatic for a child. And the emotional scars suffered in childhood can cause issues well into adulthood. As such, when you separate from the abuser, you may want to prevent or severely limit him or her from having access to your child.

Unfortunately, separations and divorces typically do little to discourage abusers from continuing to make their victims suffer. According to two studies conducted by the American Bar Association, abusers are more likely to try to leverage their children for intimidation purposes after a separation. The reason being that the separation threatens the abuser's sense of control and power.

Abusers will use any means necessary to reassert their control, and their children become pawns in their efforts. And equally disturbing, as a survival technique, a child could form a very strong bond with an abusive parent. This phenomenon is known as the Stockholm Syndrome.

If you are escaping an abusive relationship and want to protect your children, you may want to discuss your situation with a family law attorney. An attorney can act on your behalf to help you get a custody agreement with terms that are in the best interests of your children. The attorney can present evidence in court that informs the judge of the potential dangers posed by the child's other parent.

Source: Iona Sentinel-Standard, " Let's Talk About It: 5 myths about child custody and domestic violence," Sept. 18, 2016

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