Top 5 Domestic Violence Questions
At one point in the not-too-distant past, a fight between spouses -- even a physical one -- was thought to be a personal matter, not the purview of police, prosecutors, or judges. More recently, law enforcement has taken domestic abuse more seriously, although juries were liable to take a he said/she said approach to accusations of violence in the home.
Nowadays, thankfully, it seems like everyone is taking domestic violence seriously, from the expansion of definitions to include other members of the family or household, to the increase in convictions and penalties for domestic abuse. But questions remain.
Here are five of them from our archives:
Victims of domestic abuse can often struggle with the decision to report violence in the home. Ignorance of domestic violence laws or fear of abandonment or increased abuse keeps many victims from going to the police at all. But statutes of limitation put a cap on how long you can wait before reporting domestic violence.
Getting involved in a domestic dispute or intervening on another's behalf, especially if that person is a stranger, can keep many witnesses of domestic abuse from contacting law enforcement. However, if a situation has escalated to the point you can hear it, it is seldom a bad thing to get the police involved. You may be afraid of meddling, but you may also save a life.
Domestic abuse is not limited to acts of physical violence, and can include emotional and psychological abuse. At the same time, it is not just limited to behavior in the home -- abuse can often spill out into a person's public life.
Criminal charges get dropped for all kinds of reasons. But with the common misconceptions regarding who presses charges and how, dismissing charges in a domestic violence case may be a little different than you might expect.
Most jurisdictions are taking domestic violence more seriously, and the penalties for a conviction can be severe. Domestic violence convictions especially are those that after which cities, counties, or states would want to limit gun ownership or possession. And, thanks to federal gun control regulations, that's often the case.
If you are or have been the victim of domestic violence, get help. And if you've been charged with domestic violence, get an experienced attorney.