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Help for Victims of Domestic Violence
Please daddy, please, don’t hurt mommy anymore. Or maybe you have heard, I promise; I will not do it again, just don’t leave me. Then there is the ever famous, Aw honey, you know I love you, but sometimes you just make me so mad. Perhaps you have lain awake at night waiting for your spouse or partner to come home, worried that he would be drunk, then an argument and violence would follow. Does this sound familiar? For victims of domestic violence, hearing words like that are all to common.
You must keep four things in mind:
- The law is on your side; domestic violence is illegal.
- Victims of domestic violence are not to blame.
- The violence will not stop unless you take action.
- An attorney can help you.
The law provides for criminal and civil actions to stop a person who engages in domestic violence and has special help for victims of domestic violence. In a criminal action, the State will charge the abuser with a crime. The person who harmed you will be arrested. As in any crime, the abuser has a right to a trial, but most likely the defendant will enter a plea that avoids a trial. As part of the process, a judge can order the defendant to stay away from the victim. A prison sentence can be imposed, depending on the defendant’s criminal record and the severity of the crime.
In a civil case, a private individual brings an action. This means victims of domestic violence takes the person that harmed them to court. A jail sentence is not imposed unless the orders of the court are violated. In that instance, a judge might send the person who violated the orders of the court to jail. Depending on the relief you seek, the court can order the abuser to stay away from you, determine child custody and order the person who harmed you to pay money for the damages and losses that you suffered. Other types of relief are available from the courts. However, the help you can get from the court depends on what you ask for and what can be proved. This is where the help of an experienced domestic violence lawyer is essential.
Stopping domestic violence involves more than court orders and arrests. The victims of domestic violence are frequently emotionally drained and frightened. They are afraid to stay with the abuser, but unfortunately, victims are often unwilling to carry through and break the ties that bind them to the abuser. If you talk to defense attorneys who represent defendants accused of domestic assault, they might let you in on a dirty little secret. Most of the time, if the defendant just waits long enough and does not make waves, victims of domestic assault will cave and the charges will be drastically reduced or even dropped. After a short passage of time, the abused and the abuser will be living together again. Things will roll along smoothly for a while, but inevitably another case of abuse will occur, and then another, and another and another.
Restraining orders apply also to people who are dating. If you are in a dating relationship, or rather trying to end one, and the other party is stalking you, threatening you and will not let go, the law stands ready to help you. You also can apply to the courts for a restraining order.
Whether you are married, living with an abuser, or dating one, remember, you are the person who was beaten, threatened and put in constant fear. No one has the right to treat you like that. You have to be strong and stay strong to see the legal actions through. The process may seem hard, but help is available. Most communities have advocates to help the victims of domestic abuse. Often shelters are available for battered women. The courts will enter restraining orders telling the abuser to stay away from you, including your place of employment and where you reside. If the abuser breaks the order, the police can arrest him.
Domestic violence can bring many legal issues. The most immediate need is to keep the abuser away from you. An attorney can help you to get a restraining order forbidding the abuser from coming around. If you have children with the abuser, the court can award you custody, order child support and other relief you may need. Before future problems arise, a good family law attorney will help you to anticipate the issues and be prepared so that you and your children’s safety and welfare are protected.
No one has the right to physically assault you. That means hitting, shoving, pushing, or threatening to do the same is unacceptable and illegal. No one has the right to stand in your face with balled-up fists and put you in fear. You are not to blame. The person who assaulted you is the one who is wrong. If you have children, you are doing them no favors by keeping them in an abusive environment. They too deserve a peaceful home.
You do not have to stand alone. The police, the courts and many community agencies are ready to help you. Call Andres Mejer today for more information, he can help you through the process. If you need help call us today.