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The Gabby Petito Case Brings Up Domestic Violence Issues. What Are Your Rights as a Victim?

september 30, 2021 | family law
domestic abuse

What do we know about the Gabby Petito case? 

Millions of people worldwide are outraged and mourning the devastating and mysterious death of 22-year-old blogger, Gabby Petito. If you haven’t been following this story, here’s a quick rundown of what we know so far:

Gabby Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, had been road-tripping together for months and documenting their journeys via social media. On September 1, Brian Laundrie returned to his parents’ Florida home without Gabby.

As authorities searched for Gabby for weeks, details about Brian and Gabby’s relationship began to unravel. In August, a bystander saw the couple in Utah and called the police to report abuse. There is police camera footage of the police pulling over the couple and questioning them about the situation.  

Gabby’s body was recently found near a campground in Wyoming. Brian Laundrie is now missing.

The question of how Gabby died is still under investigation, but this case is undoubtedly tragic and brings up many questions about domestic abuse.

This is an eerie reminder that domestic abuse happens every day.

This story comes right before October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and as Gabby’s death rattles the nation and beyond, millions of domestic abuse survivors are speaking out and shedding awareness on the subject.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. This equals more than 10 million women and men every year.

The sad fact about this case is that domestic violence continues to plague the lives of many, and the impact following abuse can have detrimental consequences, including:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Depression
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

While some signs of domestic violence are more obvious, other red flags can be more subtle but just as damaging, which is why awareness of the subject is so important. Abuse can include:

  • Physical violence
  • Verbal abuse, including disrespectful or demeaning comments
  • Threats or harassment against you or your family
  • Spying or stalking
  • Child abuse

What are your rights in a domestic abuse case? 

There are many resources to support and protect people in an abusive relationship. If you or someone you know is getting abused, here are some initial steps you should consider:

  • Tell someone you know and trust.
  • Call the police in an emergency.
  • Don’t tell your abuser if you plan to leave.
  • Contact a domestic abuse help hotline.
  • When leaving the relationship, figure out a safety plan.
  • Obtain a Court Order of Protection.

Domestic abuse is considered a crime in every state, but each state’s laws are slightly different. The fastest form of legal help you can receive is to obtain a Court Order of Protection.

A Court of Protection is an official legal notice that requires the abuser to stop the abuse. It can protect you by addressing your specific needs. For example, it can order the abuser to stop contacting you, stalking you, sending you harassing messages, etc.  

Talk to a provider lawyer to get the help you need. 

Domestic violence is a serious issue around the world. Unfortunately, many victims of abuse don’t know how to seek legal help by documenting the incidents and taking their situation to court.

If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, our provider lawyers are here to help you get the protection and peace you need. Contact LegalShield today to get started.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to LegalShield members through membership-based participation. Neither LegalShield nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation or advice. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. If you are a LegalShield member, please contact your provider law firm for legal advice or assistance.

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