What You Need to Know About Domestic Violence

Domestic violence occurs too often. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), more than 10 million people are victims of physical domestic abuse every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also states that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are report being the victim of "severe physical violence" in an intimate relationship at some point in their lives. There are many legal issues that can arise from domestic violence, including the need for orders of protection, custodial arrangements for minor children, and divorce. An attorney specializing in intimate partner violence can help to navigate the complicated legal system, ensuring that victims of domestic violence are able to maintain a safe, healthy life.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence isn't just spousal disagreements or fights between boyfriends and girlfriends. It includes physical, emotional, and mental abuse. Sometimes intimate violence takes the form of stalking or threats, which can be just as serious as a physical attack. The umbrella of domestic violence also covers those in non-romantic relationships, such as siblings, parents, and roommates.

Who needs a domestic violence attorney?

A domestic violence attorney works as an advocate for the victim to ensure that the abuser faces punitive consequences and is no longer able to harm the victim. This could include filing motions for temporary restraining orders or more long-term protective orders, limiting contact between attacker and victim. Children can often become caught in the middle, and a lawyer can help to establish proper custodial orders, as well. When the victim and attacker are legally married, an attorney can help to start the process of dissolving the marriage, provide advice for fairly dividing assets, and even help with the process of finding new, affordable housing.

Need for affordable legal help

Legal advice is rarely cheap, but often needed. Financial strain can be a severe barrier for victims of violence, especially when it comes to leaving an abusive relationship and establishing a life independently. Hiring an attorney is sometimes not a possibility because of financial limitations. State bar associations, victims advocates, shelters, and other community organizations can sometimes help victims to find pro bono or reduced-cost legal representation.

When a person faces domestic violence, assault, or other charges, he or she is guaranteed legal representation--for free, if he or she can't afford an attorney. Victims, however, aren't provided with court-appointed counsel. Hiring a lawyer like those from Jacobs & Barbone P A that specializes in domestic violence law can help to even the playing field in court-related interactions, helping to ensure that abusers face appropriate consequences and that victims can live safely in the future.