Domestic abuse refers to instances of violence between family members in a household. This can often include actions such as:
- Physical assault and battery
- Fights between spouses
- Spousal sexual assault
- Abuse of children by parents
Domestic abuse is a serious offense and can often involve the investigation of allegations by a state or county agent. Many cases of domestic abuses involve cyclical instances of abuse that repeat over time.
Is Domestic Abuse Limited to Physical Conduct?
Some jurisdictions may include non-physical conduct under domestic abuse laws. Non-physical abusive conduct can include:
- Psychological or emotional abuse
- Constant intimidation or verbal threats
- Exposing a child or other person to offensive or inappropriate behavior
- Confining a person in a space
- Neglect-related actions, such as denying a person food or basic necessities
Domestic abuse cases that do not involve physical contact are more likely to succeed in court if the victim has manifested physical or psychological symptoms as a result of the abuse.
What Are the Consequences for Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse charges may result in:
- Criminal consequences, including jail time, fines, and probation
- Civil consequences for damages, which are used to pay for costs such as hospital treatments, medical bills, and therapy sessions
- Rehabilitation or anger management counseling courses
In addition, domestic abuse records can negatively affect one’s rights with regards to custody, visitation, and other areas of family law.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse laws may differ from state to state. You may need to hire a family law attorney if you need help with any legal issues involving abuse. Your attorney can help you file a claim and can investigate the matters to determine liability. Also, if you need to attend court hearings, mediation sessions, or other meetings, your lawyer can be on hand to represent you during those times as well.