Domestic and Sexual Violence Articles


DATING VIOLENCE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, LEGAL STEPS FOR PROTECTION


This is a topic that is not fun to discuss, and I hope none of you have had to deal with, but sadly it happens all of the time...Dating and domestic violence. 

Let me start off by saying that millions of women are abused every year.  That said, no woman should ever be violated or abused in any way, instead she should be loved and respected by her husband or significant other.  Typically the woman feels that she is at fault and finds excuses for his violent behavior...please don't go there.  The abuse if not her fault and there is NO excuse for violence. 

Let me explain about  domestic and dating violence.  First of all, there are two main types of abuse, physical and mental, both are just as tragic.  

The legal definition of dating violence is when violence occurs between individuals who have, or had, a relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.  This dating relationship must have existed within the last 6 months and the relationship must have been characterized by an expectation of affection or sexual involvement.   Legally there is also a requirement that the interaction be maintained on a continuing basis.   Dating Violence does not include violence in a casual relationship or between individuals who have only engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.  In addition to actual violence, Dating Violence can also include behavior such as stalking, kidnapping or false imprisonment

Domestic Violence in violence that occurs between family or household members.  In addition to physical violence it may include sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or economic abuse.  It may take the form of  threats or conduct used to maintain fear and intimidation.  In many cases domestic violence used to establish power and/or control over one partner.  You might be surprised to learn that domestic violence is not just between husband and wife, there are many cases of a son displaying violence against his mother or a wife against her husband. 

May I interrupt with a quick story?  One of the Domestic Violence cases I worked while I was with the police department occurred every time the wife got mad at the  husband (which was a good deal of the time).  She took her cast iron skittle (the type women in the South use to cook corn bread) and smacked him up side his head.  Finally  he had enough and called the police before she truly knocked his brains out.  When we arrived on scene she was still wailing that skittle. Thankfully, since she out weighted him and me by about 250 pounds,  I was able to calm her down and get control of the weapon.   True story. 

By all means, call 911.  If he is still on the property stay on the with the police dispatcher and answer all of their questions.  I know you are hurt and terrible frightened, but more officers are injured responding to domestic violence calls than any other so the responding officers need to know if there is a weapon involved, has he been drinking or on drugs.  Take comfort that help is on the way.  If you need medical attention, ask for it.  That may sound silly to you, but I have dealt with women who refused medical attention because they did not want to make the man madder by "running up a bunch of doctor bills."

The hospital and police department know the location of safe shelters.  Let the officer take you (and your children)  You will be safe and can get counseling and other aid.  

After the police report is filled, follow up with criminal charges.  Once the charges are filed, the state may continue prosecution even if you decide to drop the charges. 

The indictment will read:               The State of ________   vs ________________.                                                         

not                           

Mrs. Lovely Lady  vs Mr. Bad Temper 

 

I strongly recommend that you do not drop anything.  He needs to be prosecuted for what he did, and get help. In addition to what punishment the court feels is appropriate, the  court may require him to get anger management or go into detox or both.  Another option is to file for restraining order.  That is a court order providing for your protection such as prohibiting all contact, removal from the residence, or an order to stay away from your school or workplace (just to name a few).  

If you are the victim of Dating or Domestic violence, you may file for an Injunction.  Once you have signed a sworn Petition with the court clerk, a judge will review it that day.  If the judge agrees that, based upon what you have written in the Petition, you need protection,  a Temporary Injunction will be issued.  Typically, the offender will be removed from the residence ( if you live together) and all contact will be prohibited.  This Temporary Injunction will remain infect until a hearing is held for the judge to hear both sides.  Beware of providing false information on the Petition-that is a criminal offense.  

Domestic or Dating Violence is a very serious matter, no one ( and I can't stress that enough) deserves to be a victim. If you believe that someone you know or a relatives is the victim, there is little you can do until THEY want help.  Encourage them to get that help, of course, but in the mean time just listen and support.
For those of us who have never been a victim of domestic violence it is hard to imagine the horror of living in an abusive situation.  You can help these ladies by donating clothes (for the Mom and children)  and personal items to your local shelter.   Often the women and children flee to a shelter, often do so in middle of the night, in the back of a patrol car, scared and hurt....they don't exactly have time to pack.  By donating nice clothes, shoes, personal hygiene items, you will make their start on the road to recovery just a little bit easier. 

This article is not met to offer legal advise (contact your attorney for that) but to educate you about dating and domestic violence. Sandy is a retired law enforcement officer with over 20 years in the Metro-Atlanta area and now a licensed private investigator specializing in women's safety issues.