Domestic violence is a broad term that is typically used to describe abuse offenses committed against an intimate partner, family member or other individuals residing in the attacker’s household. There is a broad spectrum of crimes that domestic violence can cover that include sexual, physical, economic, emotional or psychological attacks against a domestic partner. One of the key underlying characteristics of a domestic violence offense is the objective of an abusive party to exert control over a victim. At times, many victims feel trapped, vulnerable or terrified, which make these crimes some of the most under-reported crimes in the United States.
It can be difficult at times to ascertain who can be a victim of domestic violence since the definition is intentionally broad to protect as many victims as possible. Historically speaking, domestic violence only related to the abuse of a female spouse; however, the definition has been substantially expanded. Domestic violence victims have no limitations on education level, race, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, gender or religion. Today, domestic violence victims can include:
An important distinction is that protective orders are available to victims that are not only spouses but also cohabitant lovers, relatives or roommates. The protective or temporary restraining order that will be provided depends on the specific state’s statutes and how they define domestic violence. That said, there is usually an area in each state’s statutes with an expansionist policy to protect as many victims as possible.
A domestic violence charge is defined by each state depending on the relationship between the abuser and the victim along with the nature of the abusive acts that were committed. Today, the laws not only protect women. They have been expanded to include children and other cohabitants as well. Some of the most common elements included in a domestic violence charge can consist of psychological attacks, isolation from others, sexual attacks, physical attacks, destruction of property, and withholding of financial means. Typically, the victim is paralyzed or trapped within the abuse making it very difficult for them to escape unless they report it or another individual suspect it and then reports the abuse. Recently, stalking has been added to some state domestic violence statutes because stalking is an offense that can be connected to domestic violence when the victim successfully obtains a protective order and attempts to relocate away from their abuser.
Many potential different kinds of domestic violence can be combined into a domestic violence charge. Below are some of the most common:
Mandatory reporting is something widespread in state laws regarding domestic violence in the United States. Mandatory reporting provisions require medical professionals to report to the police when they reasonably suspect or know that a patient has been injured as a result of domestic abuse. The extent of this requirement depends entirely on the statutes of each state. The mandatory reporting requirement also has an element of federal law within it because if a medical professional does report the suspected domestic abuse, then they have to disclose that to the victim as a matter of federal law. This requirement is subject to certain exceptions; however, it is crucial to be aware of. The objective behind this is to give the victim some warning if the police come to their home, which can cause further aggression and retaliation from their abuser.
There is a great deal of confusion regarding domestic violence and how victims can be protected against this crime. Many national organizations help victims obtain safe and anonymous help. What is important to remember for domestic violence victims is that there is help available for a chance to start over. Be sure to reach out to these available options sooner rather than later for further protection, advice, and education on legal rights related to domestic violence in the United States.
Domestic violence can include both misdemeanor or felony crimes of violence. These crimes may be committed by a former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by an individual that the victim shares children with, a person who has cohabitated or previously cohabitated with the victim or by any other individual who is protected by a specific jurisdiction’s domestic or family violence laws. Typically, domestic violence charges are centered around a pattern of abuse between the abuser and the victim. In the United States, each state has different laws on what constitutes domestic violence.