What to Do When it Happens
Different people would deal with a domestic violence issue differently. Some choose not to bring their problem out in the open, while others make sure their abuser is convicted for the crime. When a domestic violence case takes place with you or you suspect someone going through this problem, you must report the incident.
Some people, mainly the abusers, often persuade their victim to avoid going ahead with reporting the crime. They don't want to lose control of the dominance and power they have over their victim in the abusive relationship and want it to continue just the way it is so they can enjoy their supremacy. This is precisely why they make use of different threats to change their victim's mind of bringing the issue in the limelight.
In addition to that, there are some relatives or intimate partners of the victim who fear that they would go through a lot of trouble, if the abuse is reported and ask the victim not to pursue that decision. For instance, sometimes, mothers or current fiances of women suffering from domestic violence at the hands of their ex-boyfriend or spouse forbid them from reporting the incident, as they don't want to go through the trouble of filing a charge, getting a restraining order, getting an attorney, and going through the laborious trial process. This is an entirely wrong approach to tackling domestic violence. If you know of a domestic abuse or physical assault case, taking place in your area or to someone close to you, you must report it and encourage the victim to report their abuser as well.
Let's take a look at a few important things you should do when you are attacked by an assaulter or are victimized by this trouble.
Don't Attempt to Defend Yourself On Your Own
What do you do when you are informed you have a brain tumor? Do you start cutting your head open to take the monstrous tumor out yourself? Of course, not! You visit an appropriate and qualified doctor who is an expert in treating tumors and get their best advice on what treatment options are most suitable for you.
Similarly, when a domestic abuse case takes place, you must not tackle it yourself. You should not attempt at defending yourself all on your own, neither should you let your family or relatives talk you out of the idea of reporting the incident. The justice system of the country seems like a mystery and misery to all those who aren't familiar with how it can benefit them and the inner sanctum of the system. There are two ways to get everything done: a right and a wrong way. The family facing an allegation and the one being victimized don't know how to correctly approach the justice system. Once a case is reported to the system, it will be taken care of and will be addressed according to its nature. In addition, the state and the system won't drop the case, even if the victim changes their mind about reporting it and want it to be dropped. Once the system becomes aware of the case, it will deal with it.
What Should the Accused Do?
If the domestic violence incident does get reported, the accused must not attempt at saying or doing something to make the case or the accusation go away. The alleged victim cannot do anything to convince and persuade the protectors to stop them from pursuing the case and for making them believe that the abusive incident did not take place. The protectors include the family advocacy center caseworker, advocate of the victim, family advocacy prosecutors, and the police detective appointed in the case.
The accused should bear in mind that the domestic abuse case won't get dismissed till the government of the state believes that the dismissal of the case is in the best interest of the state, not in the victim's or their family's best interest. The protectors only dismiss a case when they have reasonable reason to believe that they can no longer take it ahead or that they will lose it. Hence, if once the case is reported, the accused needs to bear with it and go through the entire process.
The accused needs to get an attorney to represent them in the trial and must always talk in their presence. They must never talk or connect with the protectors, unless and until their attorney is present. Experienced attorneys who are experts in domestic violence know how to tackle the situation best and will guide the accused on how to respond to a certain question or allegation the right way so either the case can get dismissed, or their penalties and charges can get reduced. The accused will have to give videotaped as well as written statements. Additionally, they would have to talk to the prosecutors and detectives on the phone and their calls would be recorded. The accused must maintain their calm and give the right answers so if they are innocent, their innocence can be rightfully proven.
The accused needs to prove that they are innocent and only a skilled lawyer can help them with accomplishing that goal. If the lawyer of the accused and the accused know that they are being falsely accused, then it is important that the false accusation be beaten via an acquittal or a dismissal at a jury trial. If the person is innocent, then pleading guilty will drastically alter their life. If they are not guilty, then they must not plead guilty, as the plea bargain will certainly ruin their life for good. Deferred sentence or adjudication won't result in the conviction of the defendant. If the defendant receives a straight or deferred probation or is released from jail, they will have some criminal record that is normally public.
The defendant would have to go through battering control program and counseling to help them stop their abusive behavior. Make sure your attorney is a qualified one, so they can combat the different tactics of the prosecutor and you do not have to go through unnecessary probation or penalties.
What Should the Victim Do?
The victim of physical and emotional assault first needs to recognize that the assault is taking place. For that, you need to look for signs of domestic violence. Do you often feel scared or are afraid of your partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse or fiance? Do they constantly assault you, yell at you or make you feel intimidated? Do they blame you for their abusive actions? If you are going through any of these problems, then you are a victim of this problem. Moreover, you should look for all the signs and symptoms of domestic violence that have been explained in the previous chapter. Once you are sure of the crime, taking place with you or someone else in your home, you need to report it right away.
There are different hotlines that you can call on or connect to for reporting the abuse. The numbers and websites of the hotlines are given in the following sections. There is always the option of calling on 911 as well, so make good use of that. You deserve justice and you need to fight for it. After you have reported the crime, you need to begin looking for a seasoned lawyer. Make sure to find one who is an expert on the subject and has fought or dealt with numerous domestic abuse cases. There are a few attorneys, who specialize in fighting and dealing with domestic abuse allegations.
In addition, the victim must understand that they must not back down once they have reported the case. They need to go through with the trials to get their abuser convicted and penalized. If they are honest about their abuse and have actually been subjected to domestic violence, they must not sit silent. Many struggles will come their way and their abuser might try to get in touch with them to emotionally blackmail them and make them change their mind, but the victim must not get intimidated.
For that, it is best that they get a restraining order to prevent their abuser from talking to them. A restraining order is a command issued by the court that prohibits an abuser or accused person from talking, meeting, or getting in touch with the victim. There are various kinds of restraining orders and the victim should go through each one of them to find out which one suits their situation the best. The different types are discussed in the next section.