How Victims Can Get Help in a Domestic Violence Case
In the United States, a good percentage of adult women have been assaulted by their partners at some point of time in their lives.
This is true even for men.
For each victim, domestic violence in the form of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse can cause immense distress.
Such form of domestic violence is not just a criminal issue but a social and health concern as well.
Domestic violence costs billions of dollars in expenses annually in terms of medical costs and lost productivity.
We all have a role in curbing domestic violence.
Close family members and friends are usually the first to hear that someone they know is experiencing domestic violence.
In many states, domestic violence is considered a distinctive and clear-cut crime.
In Maryland, the law clearly defines domestic violence as episodes of following acts between family members:
- Serious bodily harm
- Attempted rape or sexual abuse
- Any form of assault
- Any act that threatens a family member of impending bodily harm
- False confinement that is interfering with a person’s freedom.
When you hear of domestic violence, your initial impulse is to assume that men are the provokers or aggressors.
This, of course, is true for most of the reported cases but men are victims as well more often than you think.
The types of violence men experience can include:
- Insults, scolds, and rebukes
- Interference from family members
- Threats to exposure of awkward personal details
- Shoving and slapping
- Display of domineering possessiveness, suspicion, or envy
In any case, a victim of domestic abuse is still a victim, man or woman.
What can you do if you are a victim of domestic abuse?
If you want to take the legal route, keep in mind that domestic violence laws vary widely in each state.
Arrest policies differ too.
In Maryland, the arrest is at the officer’s discretion. The police officer may arrest the alleged abuser if he or she thinks the person battered the partner or if there is any evidence of physical injury. The officer may also arrest the alleged abuser if he or she thinks unless done so the abuser may cause physical injury or property damage.
Nevertheless, police and prosecutors face challenges when it comes to arresting or charging the alleged perpetrators of domestic violence.
The two key reasons for this are:
- Failure to report by victims – Victims may be reluctantly thinking it is an isolated act and may not happen again or may fear that reporting may incite the abuser further. If one of the partners is dependent on the other, the victim may fear that he or she may lose financial support.
- Disinclination to testify – Even after the victim reports attacks or abuse, they may not testify at the trial. As one domestic violence defense lawyer in MD pointed out, “Defendants have a right to cross-examine their accusers, and as such, it becomes a challenge for prosecutors to offer violence victims’ statements as evidences in lieu of the victim’s actual testimony in court”.
In any case, victims of domestic violence must consult an experienced attorney such as a domestic violence defense lawyer in MD. He or she will explain the law to you and counsel you on a further course of action.