Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence is a criminal act, but it may also involve matrimonial or child custody issues. An attorney who specializes in domestic violence needs experience and knowledge of both criminal and family law to best serve his or her clients.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a form of assault and battery that is perpetrated by a person against a member of the same household. Most often there is a legal or blood relationship between the parties, but it may also involve people who live together or have an intimate relationship. Both minor and adult children who physically attack their parents or siblings can also be charged with domestic abuse. The battering of minor children by parents is usually considered child abuse and falls under different laws.
Prevalence of Domestic Violence in the US
A survey of statistics conducted in 1995 and 1996 indicated that one in four women experience domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner during their lifetime. About one in eight men is battered by a spouse or partner during their life. There has been an increase of reports of parental abuse by adolescent children, and this type of violence is more likely to involve a male child and female parent. Statistics indicate that domestic abuse is widespread in American society and crosses racial and socio-economic lines.
Charges of domestic violence may be filed by the victim or, in many jurisdictions, they can be filed by police officers who see evidence of the crime when they respond to a call. Individuals charged with this crime require a domestic violence attorney to represent them when they enter they criminal justice system. The complex issues involved in domestic cases may include mitigating factors or even self-defense, both of which a domestic violence attorney can investigate and use in the defense of his or her client.
Another aspect of domestic violence law involves providing legal protection for the victims of this crime. Since victim and perpetrator often have children together and share finances, it is often impossible for them to avoid potentially dangerous contact. A domestic violence attorney can help victims obtain an order of protection against the offender and can act as a mediator in arranging child visitation, division of assets and financial support so the victim and offender do not have to have further direct contact.
The Future of Domestic Violence Law
In the past, domestic violence was rarely reported and often ignored by police and legal authorities, but a new awareness of the dangers of violence in the home have resulted in increased reporting of the crime. Police and prosecutors have become more aggressive in pursuing cases against those accused of domestic battery. This has resulted in an increased need for attorneys trained to defend the accused or to provide the available legal protections for the victims of these crimes.
The relationships between the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence often complicate the legal issues. A domestic violence attorney is familiar with both the criminal and civil aspects of domestic violence law and can assist his or her clients to get the best outcome for all of the parties involved.