One of the prevalent social vices that plaque every human society is domestic violence. It is reported that 20 Americans are hurt by a spouse or romantic partner every 60 seconds. Meanwhile, not all domestic violence will necessarily result in a physical wound or bodily injuries, some can create long-term emotional wounds in the survivors. If you or your loved one ever fall victim to domestic violence, you will find this post particularly useful as you will learn about your options in ensuring that the perpetrator is brought to book.
What is Domestic Violence?
- Domestic violence occurs when a person intentionally harms or inflicts injury on their current or former romantic partner. Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence can take the form of physical abuse such as hitting, punching or slapping. Although hitting seems to be the most well-known type of physical assault in domestic violence, abusers can also hurt their victims in several other ways. For example, some throw objects at their victims.
Domestic violence can also manifest in the form of sexual abuse as a means of control. Most experts agree that someone who forcibly has sexual intercourse with their partner maybe liable of sexual assault or rape. Sexual assault has the potential of harming the victim’s body and mind.
- In addition, domestic violence can take the form of emotional or psychological abuse. This type of abuse is aimed at destroying or damaging the victim’s self-esteem and self-worth over time. For example, some abusers make their victim feel worthless and inhuman through the use of words. Others may isolate their partners from friends and family members.
Another type of abuse, though less talked about, is financial abuse. This type of crime occurs when the abuser deprives their dependent victim of access to money. In most cases, the abuser prevents their victim from earning or having money of their own. This is based on the understanding that having economic freedom wouldn’t allow them (the abuser) to continue to place the victim in a place of perpetual subjugation.
- Generally, violence can be inflicted on men, women and children through emotional pressure, stalking, threat, mental or psychological manipulation, and bodily injuries. Anyone can fall victim of domestic violence. Hundreds of people have lost their lives in the U.S. due to domestic violence. That is why it is important to speak up and get help before it is too late.
How is Domestic Violence Handled by the Law?
- If you’ve been abused either by a former or current partner, you can charge your abuser with criminal felony or misdemeanor. Ideally, the court will treat the crime like typical criminal offenses such as assault or battery.
Most judges consider the impact of the incident on the victim when making a decision on jail term or release. Meanwhile, most states grant victims a number of rights during court proceedings. One of these rights is the right to safety. You can ask for separate waiting areas, staggered court times and other measures to ensure your safety. The court can also grant the victim a restraining order preventing the abuser from attacking them at home.
- Meanwhile, it is also possible to sue an abuser in civil court for injuries under tort law. In this situation, the abuser will be held responsible for civil liability. If you are able to prove that the abuser was liable for the injuries you suffered, the court may provide civil legal remedies in the form of money damages or injunctive relief. Injunctive relief is the court order preventing the abuser from performing or not performing certain acts.
Does the Concept of Double Jeopardy Apply to Cases Involving Domestic Violence?
- There’s a common misconception that once a person has been tried for something in a criminal court, they cannot be tried in a civil court for that same claim. Well, the opposite is the truth in reality. The fact that your abuser has been tried in criminal court does not mean you cannot file personal injury lawsuits in a civil court.
Can you Sue a Member of your Family?
- Traditionally, courts did not allow family members such as married couples to sue each other for torts. This was based on concerns that allowing such might lead to the breakdown of the family unit. However, there seems to have been a significant departure away from the traditional thinking. Today, many states allow family members to sue each other. That said, you can file a domestic violence lawsuit against your partner or whoever the abuser is for injuries.
Hiring an Domestic Violence Attorney
Even though it is evident that you were a victim of domestic violence, the abuser will do everything possible to make sure they don’t get punished for their misconduct. To ensure that justice is served, you need an experienced domestic violence attorney to represent your interest and defend you throughout the lifespan of the case in court. For legal assistance with your case, reach out to one of my qualified and experienced attorneys.