A report by the Partnership Against Domestic Violence states that every 9 seconds, a woman in the U.S. is a victim of domestic violence. According to a related report by Safe Horizon, one in four women in the U.S. has experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. Many of these victims are between 20-24 years. In many cases, violence against women happens behind closed doors. Further studies show that boys who grow up in a domestic violence setting are likely to turn out to be abusers as adults. These statistics show that domestic violence is a big problem in our society. Read on for answers on the frequently asked questions regarding domestic violence.
What is Domestic Violence?
Not all cases of domestic violence are visible. There may be violence in the absence of injuries and hospital admissions. Weave, a crisis intervention service based in California defines domestic violence as any act that is performed to exert control and power over the victim. There are 5 variations of domestic violence:
Physical abuse: This occurs when one person uses force against the other to inflict injury. Physical abuse may include hitting, pushing, choking, or threatening a person with a deadly weapon
· Sexual abuse: This occurs together with physical abuse. Sexual abuse is the use of coercion or force to have someone perform a sexual act like unwanted kissing, touching, or rape. It also includes threatening a person to engage in a sexual act, using sexual insults to demean the victim, or restricting one from access to condoms or birth control.
· Emotional Abuse: This occurs when a person attacks a victim’s self confidence. This form of abuse may be in the form of constant verbal abuse from one’s partner. It may also be non-verbal abuse like when your partner exerts control over you and makes important decisions on your behalf in an effort to demean you.
· Financial Abuse: This occurs when a person steals or withholds money from their victim, or uses their victim’s personal information and name to secure a debt. The victim starts to become financially dependent on their partner or is forced to offer financial support to their partner.
Spiritual Abuse: This occurs when a partner does not allow their spouse freedom to exercise their religious or moral beliefs. Spiritual abuse may involve harassment or humiliation in an effort to force or control a victim to give up the values or cultures they hold important.
What Are The Legal Options For Domestic Violence?
One of the measures you can take against domestic violence is to obtain a protection order. This is also called an injunction or restraining order. This order is signed by a judge. If the abuser breaches this order, the judge holds him in contempt of the order and subjects them to immediate incarceration. A protection order restrains and forbids a domestic violence perpetrator from entering your property, threatening you, contacting you, or going near your work place, residence, or anywhere you usually go to on a frequent basis.
There are many ways protection orders can be obtained. A domestic violence victim can request for a protection order from the court. To qualify for a protection order, the person you want to subject to the order needs to have engaged in physical violence, threats of physical violence, stalking, harassment, or any related actions.
Punishment For Domestic Violence
Domestic violence acts are either misdemeanor assaults or felony crimes. Misdemeanors carry a penalty of imprisonment for a maximum of one year, or probation upon the payment of a fine. The abuser’s case may also be totally dismissed after paying a fine and hospital bills. They may also be required to undergo a course in anger management.
Felony assaults carry a penalty of incarceration for more than one year or a probation based sentence after paying a fine.