Domestic violence (also named domestic abuse or family violence) is violence or other abuse in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic violence is often used as intimate partner violence, which is committed by a spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner, and can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships, or between former spouses or partners.
Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal assault to violence. And while physical injury may pose the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone.
Physical Abuse – Physical abuse is the most recognizable form of domestic violence. It involves the use of force against the victim, causing injury (a punch or a kick, stabbing, shooting, choking, slapping, forcing you to use drugs, etc.). However, the injury doesn’t need to be a major one.
Emotional Abuse – Emotional abuse is sometimes harder than physical abuse to define and recognize. A bruise will heal but the damage to a person’s self esteem can last forever.
The Following are some example of Emotional Abuse:
• Withholding affection
• Turning your children and friends against you
• Being stopped from seeing friends or relatives
• Constantly being insulted, including in front of others
Sexual Abuse – Sexual abuse is an act of violence which the attacker uses against someone they perceive as weaker than them. It does not come from an uncontrollable sex drive, but is a crime committed deliberately with the goal of controlling and humiliating the victim.
Financial Abuse – Financial abuse involves controlling a victim’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain financial resources. Those who are victimized financially may be prevented from working. They also may have their own money restricted or stolen by the abuser. Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence.
Psychological Abuse – Psychological abuse, often called emotional abuse, is a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Psychological abuse involves a person’s attempts to frighten, control, or isolate you. It’s in the abuser’s words and actions, as well as their persistence in these behaviors. The abuser could be your spouse or other romantic partner. They could be your business partner, parent, or a caretaker.
Although the use of terms domestic violence and domestic abuse can vary from state to state, the terms are used to describe similar conduct.
The definition of “domestic violence” or “domestic abuse” can even vary within a state’s code. Wisconsin’s statute addressing domestic abuse restraining orders broadens the definition of domestic abuse found in § 968.075 by adding the act of property damage and threats to commit any of the prohibited acts to the list of actions that constitute domestic abuse.
These statutes concern restraining orders or injunctions in domestic abuse cases, child abuse cases, and cases filed by “individuals as risk.” In each of these laws, there are protections for “household pets,” defined as domestic animals that are not farm animals, as defined in law, that are kept, owned, or cared for by the petitioner or by a family member or a household member of the petitioner.
Domestic violence is a federal crime.
As with other types of offenses in the state, you may present a defense against any form of domestic violence offense. With a defense, you may argue, with the help of a proper lawyer, against the charge so as to potentially drop them. With domestic violence types of cases, there are a couple of common defenses that are utilized.
The defendant must be lying
Prosecutors will argue that you have an incentive to lie to avoid conviction. Because domestic violence cases often involve complex “he said/she said” scenarios, prosecutors will go after your credibility as a defendant. Jurors, ordinarily, wonder if defendants are lying to protect themselves.
Domestic violence charges are serious matters. If you have been accused of domestic violence, you face severe jail or prison time and expensive fines. You could also have a restraining order issued against you, preventing you from being near your spouse, significant other, child, or home. This can be especially difficult where there are no third-party witnesses, but a seasoned criminal defense attorney knows what to look for and can help you present your strongest defense.
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