The Different Types of Abuse
Domestic violence is one of the least understood crimes. The terms violence and abuse tend to bring to mind physical injuries, such as broken bones and bruises. In reality, domestic violence goes far beyond such injuries.
All acts of domestic violence are a crime in California, whether the victim was seriously injured or not. Domestic violence includes a broad range of types of abuse such as physical, sexual, psychological, and verbal. Domestic violence can even be emotional. Emotional domestic violence can include such acts as:
- Calling the victim names or putting him or her down
- Playing mind games
- Controlling the victim
- Extreme jealousy
- Isolating the victim from friends or family
- Making threats
- Making the victim feel worthless
- Making the victim feel crazy
Acts of emotional abuse don't physically injure the victim, although it is common for a victim of domestic violence to suffer from more than one type of abuse. Emotional abuse is about control. A person who emotionally abuses another person gains control by changing the victim's life and self-perspective. This can make them less able to defend themselves against other threats. In this way, it is injurious but not in the traditional sense.
Often, instances of emotional abuse go unnoticed because they aren't as visible as the aftermath of physical abuse is. While it is easy to prove someone injured you, it is much harder to prove someone played mind games or isolated you. In a court of law, this usually requires witness testimony. So many victims who don't feel they can prove this don't seek protection. When it is reported or brought to the attention of the police, however, the perpetrator can still be criminally charged and prosecuted but only if there is enough evidence. This is why emotional abuse is a very complex element in domestic violence cases.
Unfortunately, emotional abuse is also one of the most often falsely reported types of abuse. Because there is no need for the victim to prove physical injuries, a victim can easily make up a story to get the alleged abuser arrested. This sets in motion the criminal case process, which, for domestic violence cases, often means charges will be officially filed and the defendant will be prosecuted. California aggressively prosecutes domestic violence offenses of all kinds, so it is possible for someone to be convicted of a crime based off of very little information.
It is important for people facing false allegations of emotional abuse seek the help of an attorney right away. Since the evidence in the case may be mostly testimony, you may need an attorney to identify and challenge what is said about you.
Even in cases where no criminal charges are filed, a victim of emotional abuse can get a court-issued domestic violence restraining order for protection against the abuser. Restraining orders are also called protection orders or no-contact orders. Restraining orders increase the risk the defendant will be arrested for his or her actions. This is because violating a restraining order is a crime and a serious one at that. Many people are charged with crimes for violating restraining orders. Restraining orders can be very strict and include many different requirement and restrictions. A violation comes with jail time and potentially very steep fines.
If you are facing charges for domestic violence, have a restraining order against you, or fear someone may report to the police that you have abused him or her, you should speak with an experienced California attorney as soon as possible. Every case is unique, and the information here can only give you an idea of the basics of domestic violence law in California. A domestic violence defense attorney can evaluate your case, and, based off of the facts and circumstances of your offense, advise you of your rights and how you can defend them.
Are you in the Visalia or Tulare area and facing domestic violence charges? At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we are experienced in domestic violence defense and can help you fight your charges. Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens has successfully represented clients in criminal trials in Fresno, Tulare, and Kings Counties for over ten years and will not be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your case.