Each year, more than 10 million people are physically abused by their intimate partner. Women are more at risk than men. In fact, approximately 25% of all women in the United States are physically abused, sexually abused and/or stalked by their intimate partners. Furthermore, it is estimated that nearly 11% of men will experience one or more of the aforementioned abusive actions by their partners. Domestic violence happens in every community, race, each socioeconomic group and religion. It is a national and global crisis that disproportionately affects women. If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is recommended that you call the National Help Hotline as soon as you can. They can provide you and your family with the resources that you need to get out of an abusive situation.
What is Domestic Violence?
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), domestic violence can be defined as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.” This definition encompasses things like emotional abuse, threatening language and/or behavior, all forms of unwanted physical and sexual violence as well as stalking. Domestic violence is most often perpetrated on women that are between the ages of 18 and 24. The effects on victims can include an increased risk of contracting an STD, elevated rates of depression and anxiety, injury, financial strain and in the worst cases, death.
Most Common Forms
Domestic abuse comes in many forms. Each is employed by abusers in varying degrees. Listed below are the four most prevalent categories of domestic violence.
- Physical Abuse: This can include actions such as pushing, restraining, slapping/punching, kicking, scratching, etc.
- Emotional Abuse: Typically, emotional abuse begins verbally. Abusers use it as a tool to belittle and humiliate their victims. Their goal is to make their partner feel worthless.
- Economic Abuse: This can happen when a partner doesn’t allow their spouse to have control over their own finances. In many cases, abusers won’t allow their partners to work or achieve any form of independent success.
- Psychological Abuse: Anything said or done to strike fear in another person.
While many of these may not rise to the level of a criminal offense, a prosecutor may use non-criminal forms of abuse to bolster a case against an accused batterer. It is important to recognize the signs. If you know someone that is a victim, be proactive, speak with them privately and offer as much help as you can.
What to do if You are Falsely Accused of Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse accusations should never be taken lightly. They can negatively impact your freedom and finances. The overwhelming majority of domestic violence accusations go unreported or are substantiated legally. The risk of being falsely accused of domestic violence is relatively low, it can and does happen. A felony charge can bring with it probation, jail time, restraining order and restricted access to your children. Even a misdemeanor domestic violence charge can cause you to lose your gun rights for the rest of your life. Additionally, the social stigma that is attached to an accusation domestic violence can be debilitating socially, financially and mentally. If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is best to contact a reputable attorney like the professionals at Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, P.C. Hiring an attorney is not an admission of guilt. It is wise to ensure that you are represented by an experienced and highly qualified criminal defense attorney.