May 25, 2024

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Understanding Domestic Violence: Types of Charges and Legal Protections

Domestic violence accounts for a large percentage of all violent crimes. It affects both men and women and can have far-reaching effects such as injury, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

As a violent crime, domestic violence results in both criminal and civil liability. This means that you can sue your abusive partner in civil court even when they’re facing criminal charges. You can also seek compensation for the broad spectrum of domestic violence damages.

In this article, we will discuss the various types of domestic violence charges and the laws created to protect victims of domestic abuse.

Types of Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence typically escalates with time. What starts as verbal abuse can quickly turn into physical violence. It can result in injury, hospitalization, and even death. Therefore, it is advisable to seek help earlier on to protect yourself.

Some of the most common domestic violence charges include:

Corporal Injury of a Spouse

Corporal injury of a spouse occurs when someone intentionally causes harm to their spouse or an intimate partner, such as their ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, ex-spouse, or parent of their child.
In some cases, corporal injury of a spouse can be minimal, such as a little bruising or swelling. It can also take a more serious turn, like fractured bones and comatose victims.
Corporal injury of a spouse is a felony or misdemeanor, depending on specific aspects of the case, especially the severity of injuries. In most cases, convictions result in fines of up to $6,000 and/or a jail term of up to four years.

Domestic Battery

Domestic battery is a scaled-down version of corporal injury of a spouse. It can be any unlawful touching or hitting of a spouse or other cohabitant that is decidedly violent.
The fundamental difference between domestic violence and corporal injury is that the culprit needs to have used aggression, so there is no requirement for proof of injury. Domestic violence is typically a misdemeanor.

Child Abuse

Child abuse is the act of using physical force against a child, resulting in physical harm. The severity of child abuse can range from a parent punishing their child by hitting them to something more severe, like potentially causing fatal harm to the child.
Different states have varying definitions of child abuse. For instance, in most states, it is legal to spank if there is no mark on the child. If the latter occurs, it can be a felony or misdemeanor, attracting a maximum sentence of six years.

Child Abuse and Child Endangerment

Most cases of domestic violence also include child endangerment and child neglect. These cases can be brought up even if the child was not physically harmed. This is because, in most cases, a child living in such an environment may be susceptible to harm and not be given proper attention.

Which Laws Protect Victims of Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence victims are protected under both state and federal law. They can also seek additional compensation and protection through civil and criminal courts. Every state has unique laws to protect victims of domestic violence, so in this article, we’ll focus on the more universal federal laws. They include:

The Violence Against Women Act

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) supports investigating and prosecuting violent crimes against women. Since then, the law has expanded to cover the rights of all victims of domestic violence, regardless of gender and sexual orientation.
Under the law, victims get several supportive services, including:
● Free rape exams
● Legal aid for survivors of sexual violence
● No charge for the prosecution of the abuser
● No charge for a restraining order against the abuser
● Protections for domestic violence victims evicted from their homes due to circumstances relating to abuse or stalking

Family Violence Prevention and Service Act

The Family Violence Prevention and Service Act (FVPSA) provides funding to help domestic violence victims and their children with direct assistance for several services, including:

● Shelter services
● Guidance to domestic abuse service agencies, and
● Violence prevention programs

The FVPSA is also responsible for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which helps victims of domestic violence seek confidential help at any time of the day or night.

The Bottom Line

Domestic violence is a prevalent issue affecting many households throughout the country. The escalating nature of abuse makes seeking help early to avert severe harm vital. Victims of domestic violence have protection under both state and federal laws and can seek compensation for damages resulting from abuse.

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