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Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
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Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

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The Legal Corner: The Legal Corner: Forgotten victims of domestic abuse

October 28, 2009

This is the third and final article in a three-part series about domestic abuse. My first article involved the warning signs of domestic abuse, while my second article focused on resources available to victims of domestic abuse. This final article in the series will focus on the forgotten victims of domestic abuse. That is, those people who are not the immediate target of domestic abuse, but who nonetheless suffer greatly.
Children: Virtually every study, article or expert opinion that I have read on domestic abuse concludes that children who live in households where there is domestic abuse are negatively affected. School work may suffer. The children may become withdrawn or aggressive at school. Older children may take drugs or even inflict self-harm. Moreover, children living in domestic abuse households are much more likely to grow up to become either victims or perpetrators of domestic abuse. Consequently, when there is domestic abuse in a home with children, there is a profoundly negative impact not only in the present, but extending far into the future. This cycle may continue generation after generation if it is not broken.
Same sex partners: While the warning signs and incidents of domestic violence are the same for same sex partners as they are for heterosexual couples, domestic abuse between same sex couples is rarely publicized and generally not well understood within the community. That is because information regarding domestic violence usually focuses on heterosexual relationships with the man abusing the woman. Many people do not consider that abuse happens in same sex relationships. Moreover, individuals involved in a same sex relationship may not know how to respond if they are a victim or may even fail to recognize that they are a victim. Additionally, the relatively small size of the gay and lesbian communities in rural areas such as Carroll County may make it even more difficult for victims to seek help. Same sex victims of domestic abuse should understand that there are confidential resources available to seek help. Domestic abuse is not solely a heterosexual problem.
Men: As mentioned above, domestic abuse usually focuses on a male perpetrator and a female victim.
Those falsely accused: About a year ago, one community member implied, among other things, that women often use false accusations of domestic violence to help in a divorce proceeding. While all domestic abuse allegations must be taken seriously, we should recognize that when a false accusation is made, it not only damages the falsely accused victim, but also negative impacts genuine victims.

911 - In an emergency, where you are physically assaulted or threatened, you should immediately call 911 to seek law enforcement protection and/or medical attention. Physical violence should never be accepted.
Starting Point, www.startingpointnh.org/, 24-Hour Support Line 800-336-3795 – Starting Point provides services for victims of domestic violence in Carroll County. According to its mission statement, Starting Point is “dedicated to removing the root causes of family and sexual violence from our communities.” Its objectives are “to intervene in crises by providing advocacy, support and shelter to victims of violence; and to work towards breaking the cycle of violence in forthcoming generations through community outreach and education.”
New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, http://www.nhcadsv.org, 1-866-644-3574 - The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is a statewide network of programs committed to ending domestic violence. Its mission statement states that the organization seeks “to ensure that quality services are provided to victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence; prevent future violence by educating the public; influence public policy; and encourage the provision of services for perpetrators.”
Other State Resources – There are many other state resources that will likely fit the needs of anyone who is a victim or knows a victim of domestic violence. A website that lists a wide variety of state resources can be found at http://www.aardvarc.org/dv/states/nhdv.shtml.
The Department of Justice – In addition to local and state organizations, there are many excellent national organizations that provide important resources for victims of domestic violence. There is a long list of national organizations at the Department of Justice’s website at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/help/dv.htm.
You should be aware that talking to someone about your concerns does not require you to commit to any course of action. You may be confused about what to do or even whether you are a victim. While the above-listed resources are dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse and are completely confidential, you should not hesitate to speak to a friend, your doctor, a therapist, or a family member about your concerns if that is more comfortable for you. Once you have acknowledged that you may be a victim of domestic abuse, the most important step is to open a dialogue with someone who can help.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

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By: Edward D. Alkalay