Is it domestic violence?
You don’t have to be married to be a victim of domestic violence. You could be living together, dating, or have a child together. You may be a child in the home of abusive adults. You might be in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship. Domestic violence and abuse does not always look the same. There may be no physical altercations at all. In addition to physical violence from a partner or family member, domestic violence or abuse may include:
- Continued harassment when involved in a close or intimate relationship
- Threats from someone who lives in the same home
- Being stalked by a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse
Is domestic violence a real crime?
In many states, yes — and it’s often taken more seriously than if the same actions were perpetrated onto a stranger. Many times, perpetrators are charged with domestic violence instead of or in addition to crimes like assault and battery. Law firms specializing in domestic disputes and partner violence will often push for harsher sentences in court because the perpetrator typically takes advantage of their victims’ trust. Sentences for these crimes usually involve special protections for victims like restraining orders. Abusers will often have to go to therapeutic counseling to address their issues.
What can I do if I’m a victim of domestic violence?
First of all, know that you are not alone and that you do not have to go through this alone. It is important to get out of your situation and document it with police, but law enforcement does not always take the correct steps. They may not think there’s enough evidence or they may even arrest the wrong person. But domestic violence lawyers play an important part in making sure the person responsible will be prosecuted under the law. If you are experiencing threats, violence, stalking, or anything else that makes you feel uncomfortable or limits your personal freedoms, domestic violence attorneys can help.
What are some challenges of domestic violence cases?
Law firms specializing in these cases will tell you that two of the most common challenges are that victims fail to report and that they are often reluctant to testify. Unfortunately, abusers rely on these and often play into a victim’s fears or desires. Many victims hope that the incident was isolated or fear that reporting the crime will make things worse. Many times, victims are dependent upon their abusers in some way, so they may feel totally stuck in their current situation. And even when victims are brave enough to come forward, they’re often reluctant or unwilling to testify. Having to face their abuser in a court of law can prove to be too emotionally trying for many victims, especially because they’re subject to cross-examination. These two factors mean that domestic violence cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute, and even when a victim reports and is willing to testify, women in particular are subject to character defamation as a defense tactic. It takes both a strong victim and a strong legal team to bring these cases to trial, but it’s important for these cases to be prosecuted in order to bring these abusers to justice.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, experienced law firms can help. For more information, contact a trusted attorney or domestic violence advocate today.