(Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

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It’s hard to believe that in 2015 there is still a woman assaulted or beaten every nine seconds, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The group estimates that more than 10 million women and men are abused by a husband, wife or partner each year in the U.S. Almost 60 percent of abuse incidents happen in the home. Abuse crosses all races, religions, ethnic groups and happens in heterosexual and gay relationships. Abuse victims are young and old.

Abuse can be the cause of divorce and other times announcing a desire to divorce is the trigger that starts or escalates abuse. In either case, abuse should be reported immediately to an attorney, law enforcement officers and to family members. It is silence about abuse that often leads to tragedies.

In divorce and custody cases, documentation of abuse is crucial. In the age of cell phones, it is easy to photograph the results of abuse.

Domestic violence rarely just stops. It takes proactive action to make it end. In Pennsylvania, those being abused may apply for a Protection from Abuse Order to protect themselves or children.

If you are a victim of abuse or know someone who is experiencing it, say something. It won’t just go away.

This post was authored by Lynne Gold-Bikin. Lynne is a nationally renowned family law attorney who has frequently appeared on the major networks and has been quoted in prominent newspapers and magazines discussing domestic issues. Winner of numerous awards, Lynne handles divorce and custody matters. Lynne may be reached at lgold-bikin@wglaw.com.