Domestic violence is a serious issue in the United States. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, every minute 20 people face domestic abuse by their intimate partner. This turns out to be more than 10 million people facing domestic violence over a year. Domestic violence was the cause of at least 21% of all violent crimes within the United States.
One out of 9 men and one out of 4 women have suffered some kind of physical violence from an intimate partner. This can include intimate stalking, sexual violence, and can lead to contracting sexually transmitted diseases in some cases. In some cases, the victims also have psychological repercussions of the incident such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or unnecessary fearfulness of people stalking them. The common denominator in all of these situations is that the police are not trained to effectively handle these situations.
The job of the police is simply to report the issue and notify the concerned departments to take the necessary action. The concerned departments may or may not take the actions necessary for the victim to achieve closure for the incident. In almost all cases, victims will need the assistance of a Raleigh domestic violence attorney. The presence of an attorney can help you legally accomplish the appropriate action against the person harassing you.
Each state has stiff laws against domestic violence but the scoundrel will not be charged for the crime unless it is reported through the proper channel. For example, in the state of North Carolina Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. is an experienced firm that can help victims get legal closure at the best possible rates. Victims often make the mistake of reporting the incident to people other than those that can help them. This often complicates matters even more for the victim, making the situation unable to handle by themselves.
Here we look at the steps you should take if you are confronted with domestic violence. Keep in mind that these steps have been designed to help the majority of people facing domestic abuse. Some of these steps may not apply to your specific experience of trouble with family law. But before we get to what you can do about the situation, let’s look at what signifies domestic abuse or domestic violence.
What Counts As Domestic Violence Or Domestic Abuse In The United States?
The modern term used to describe domestic violence or domestic abuse is “intimate partner violence”. An intimate partner can be a current or former spouse. It can also be used to refer to current or former dating partners. The trauma could be from a single episode of violence or over a prolonged period as in the case of stalking.
Some of the examples of intimate partner violence are:
- Stalking: Stalking is when a current or former partner continuously threatens or harasses someone. The harassment takes on the form of psychological trauma for the victim. Common forms of stalking are unnecessary phone calls, text messages, voice messages, instant messages, or social media invites. A stalker might leave objects for the victim to find to intimidate or threaten them. A stalker can show up unannounced to the victim’s home, office, or place of gathering. The most common form of stalking is watching, tracking, or following the victim. The stalker might also use the information from stalking to harass the victim.
- Physical Violence: This is when a spouse or partner is physically abusive with their partner. For example, it can take on the form of beating, punching, kicking, or using any other kind of physical force against their partner. Physical violence is not limited to beatings and assaults, it also includes any forms of unnecessary aggressive behavior to intimidate their partner.
- Sexual Violence: Sexual violence is when a person forces their partner to participate in sexual conduct without their permission. The sexual act can be a physical one and it also includes forcing their partner to participate in virtual sex or online sexting. One of the most important aspects of sexual violence is that almost always occurs without the consent of their partner.
- Psychological Intimidation: Any form of unspoken or verbal communication with the intent to psychologically or emotionally stigmatize an individual is known as psychological intimidation. In some cases, an individual might try to use psychological intimidation to pressurize their partner into doing something without their consent.
The impact of some of these forms of domestic violence can result in physical injury and other negative health outcomes. A person can become the victim of physical or psychological trauma. Some forms of domestic violence can lead a person to inflict self-harm that includes indulging in excessively risky sexual behavior, binge drinking, or smoking. In extreme cases, some people might commit suicide as a result of domestic abuse.
It is important to remember when confronted with domestic abuse or violence that blaming yourself is not the solution. With the proper help, you can always take legal action against your perpetrator.
What To Do After Suffering Domestic Abuse Or Domestic Violence?
Domestic abuse and violence is a serious offense in a majority of the states within the United States. Anyone accused of domestic violence or abuse can face stiff punishments in a court of law. Some of the punishments are stiff penalties, including heavy fines and or time behind bars. These punishments deter individuals because the effects can outlast even after paying the hefty fines and imprisonment.
A person charged with domestic violence will have a permanent record. This will make it difficult to get a job or hold a trustworthy or reputable position in society for years to come. The following are the steps you should take when confronted with domestic abuse or charges of domestic violence.
1. Get Help From A Domestic Violence Attorney
The first thing you need to do is contact a domestic violence attorney acquainted with the local laws in your area. The domestic violence attorney is the only person that can help if you have been a victim of domestic abuse. Any information that you purvey to the domestic violence attorney will always be protected by law. This means that all details you provide to the domestic violence attorney are completely confidential.
The domestic violence attorney can advise you on how to take the necessary legal action to help you get justice. Remember that all of your communication with the domestic violence attorney is confidential. What you tell somebody else might not be a secret anymore. Refrain from unnecessarily speaking to friends, family, or relatives about the incident. Any information you provide anyone else could be used against you at some point in time if a case develops.
Do not take anyone else’s advice other than the domestic abuse attorney, if you have to decide between friends, relatives, or anyone else. Other people might not feel the same way about you as new information comes to light. Things can get even more complicated if the court decides to call them at a later date to testify against you.
2. Do Not Speak To The Police
Do not speak to the police right away if you have been a victim of domestic abuse or domestic violence. This is also important for people being charged with domestic violence or abuse. Informing the police means that they will investigate the matter on their terms. The police can contact you directly if they need any information relevant to your case.
In the heat of the moment, it is easy to blurt out information that should have been confidential. You might also be liable to provide the information that you could have kept confidential between you and your domestic violence attorney. Making any statements without consulting a domestic violence attorney is never a good idea.
The domestic abuse attorney has a better understanding of how the law works. A police investigation might not be so concerned with your negative experience. The job of the domestic abuse attorney is to represent your best interests at all times.
3. Safeguard Any Proof Or Evidence
Living in the modern world, we always believe that we can easily retrieve photos, messages, emails, social media posts, credit cards, and conversations. All of these forms of proof and evidence do not remain confidential if you retrieve them in the form of an official investigation. Some forms of evidence are not that easy to retrieve either because the records are only kept for so long.
Take a quick snapshot if you come across any social media post or proof that could be valuable to your case. Collect all the proof and evidence in a flash drive or a folder that only you have access to. A perpetrator might have a certain plot to try to harass you.
You can easily convict a person if you have all the proof to support your proposition that the perpetrator was trying to harass you. Remember to keep all of this proof and evidence to yourself. Avoid sharing it with anybody else.
4. Do Not Contact Your Perpetrator
The court needs to verify that the perpetrator used the necessary resources within their disposal to commit acts of domestic violence or abuse against you. Stay away from the person after you have given them the chance to rectify the situation and that did not happen. Do not attempt to justify your actions to them any longer and do not engage in direct social contact with them.
You cannot establish any wrongdoing on the part of the perpetrator if you constantly initiate contact. Once you have stopped communicating with the individual and they are still trying to harass you, it will only make matters worse for them. It will make it easier for your domestic violence attorney to establish that the intentions of the perpetrator were specifically to harass you.
5. Avoid Social Media
Some people have the habit of posting everything online. They do not stop to consider whether everybody must know every detail of your life. Every person using social media is doing it to achieve some goals. None of their goals is to keep information private.
Every person is entitled to their own opinion if you share something online about your experience of domestic abuse. Some people might endorse what you say, others might completely contradict your point of view. Posting private information online in public forums can be construed as public harassment. Consult with your domestic abuse attorney every time, before you divulge anything related to your experience online because it can have a negative impact.
6. Keep A Timeline Of Incidences
Depending on the availability of court proceedings there is a possibility that your case may not be shelved to a later date. Some people have proofs and evidence that can expire as time passes by. Some people might also move to a different place by the time your case is heard. You must know who and what is important to your case.
Looking back it is hard to recall when some of the events took place, and which one was before or after. Time and tension can make your memory get all muddled up. Make sure you remember exactly when an event took place and the order of events. A good way to do this is to keep a diary of events. Some digital diaries do not even need to connect to the internet to help maintain your privacy.
Getting Help From A Domestic Abuse Attorney
The domestic abuse attorney should be your point of contact if you want to contact your perpetrator or the police. The domestic violence attorney will be able to advise you exactly when to contact the police and what you need to say to them. Remember that if you have endured domestic violence, your domestic violence attorney is the only person who can help you get justice in a court of law. The domestic violence attorney should be the only person, other than you, who knows when to call a certain star witness related to your case for testimony.