Prominent domestic violence attorneys, Carlsbad based Fischer & Van Thiel, have noticed a steady increase in the numbers of men and women seeking legal help with domestic violence issues in recent years. This may possibly be an indicator of increasing levels of violence, or it may be indicative of the fact that there is less social stigma attached to seeking help for these kinds of things.

Once upon a time in America, families mostly kept their quarrels and disturbances under wraps, more terrified of scandal than of suffering severe injury through chronic beatings. Fortunately times have changed, and people are more sensible about these kinds of things. Yet often people leave it too late to seek help or to get away from the source of abuse, often with tragic consequences.

Social conditioning has produced a situation where most people tend to think of domestic violence as something that happens between men and women involved in intimate relationships such as marriage. It has further conditioned many people towards believing that perpetrators are male and victims are female. These biased beliefs are potentially harmful, because they can cause people who should be seeking the protection of domestic violence laws to be ignorant of the protections available, and because those they turn to for help may not recognize them as victims.

Californian law recognizes anybody who is harmed or seriously threatened with harm by somebody living under the same roof as a domestic violence victim. The law in these cases, while it may not always be written in an absolutely clear way, does not differentiate between genders and does not define a specific relationship between the persons involved.

For example, two females sharing an apartment simply as room mates would be covered under domestic violence laws. If one of them got angry and threw something at the other, this would be considered an act of domestic violence. The same might apply to a son and a father living together or a brother and sister. So forget stereotypes, the law in California doesn’t get its information about domestic violence from the media.

No matter what circumstances you are in, if you are subjected to any kind of on-going abuse, you should get yourself out of that situation. You may feel that you’re in the right and therefore the other person should be made to leave, but actually this is something that can be sorted out later. Your physical safety is what should be your priority.

Even though you should not delay in getting out, you also shouldn’t telegraph your intentions. Saying something like “I’m leaving!” or making a dramatic show of packing will only enrage an abuser more. Nor should you ever use threats, such as suggesting that you are calling the police. Get out first, make your calls after that, unless there’s no other choice.

Once you’re safe and secure, your next step should be to consult a lawyer. They can help you get legal protection from your abuser, help you protect your assets and financial interests, and assist you in many other ways. It’s the most important thing you can do, and you need to make sure you do it as soon as you can.