While many people will be celebrating Valentine’s Day today, we can’t help but think about the overwhelming number of people who are in domestically violent relationships right now. Specifically, roughly twenty people are physically abused by their loving” partners every minute, and nearly 5 million women are victims of physical abuse by their partners each year.
Although Valentine’s Day is one of three days of the year (Thanksgiving and Christmas) in which there is a slight decrease in domestic violence reports according to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, we’ve found that it’s also a time in which domestic violence victims tend to reflect on the state of their relationship, and get out! Whether you’re the one being abused, know of a loved one who is in an abusive relationship, or have witnessed domestic violence, we don’t take domestic violence lightly. Today we’ll discuss the various levels of protection domestic violence victims have and what you should know about getting out of an abusive relationship including contacting Kevin E. Jones, Durham domestic violence attorney.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is often defined as the physical assault of one partner by another within the context of a personal relationship. However, North Carolina victims of domestic violence are protected by both civil and criminal laws since domestic violence can be physical, emotional, sexual or financial. Let’s take a look at what that means according to North Carolina law.
Protection Under Civil Law
A person can be charged with committing domestic violence by doing one or more of the following acts against someone who he or she shares a personal relationship with (including spouse, significant other or a child):
- Attempting to or intentionally causing injury to the other person(s)
- Causing someone (or a member of someone’s family or household) to fear for their physical safety
- Committing a sexual offense such as rape
- Continued harassment that is so bad it inflicts substantial emotional distress on the victim
- Any behavior or conduct with the intent to torment, terrorize, or terrify the other person
If you are a victim of any of these acts, you can apply for a Domestic Violence Protective Order, which is a civil court order signed by a judge that offers protection to victims. Your Durham Domestic Violence attorney can help you through this process.
Protection Under Criminal Law
Any of the above scenarios can escalate into a criminal domestic violence case in North Carolina and are prosecuted through general criminal status rather than domestic violence laws. However, if a judge determines that there is a “personal relationship” between the parties involved, he or she can impose special terms of probation on the case. Such previsions might include:
- Requiring the defendant to undergo medical or psychiatric treatment
- Attending or residing in a facility that provides rehabilitation, counseling, treatment, training, or residence for people on probation
- Successful completion a Drug Treatment Court Program
- Abstaining from consuming alcohol or continuous alcohol monitoring
- Requiring the defendant to remain at home with the exception of commuting to and from the place of employment or school
If you are in a domestically violent situation, we want to help you get out before the violence reaches criminal levels, but we know that leaving a domestically violent situation is far from easy. Perhaps you don’t realize you’re in a domestically violent relationship, maybe you think others have it way worse. Maybe you think your situation is normal or that your partner will get better if you just stop triggering him (or her). So many victims of domestic violence rationalize the abuse they’re receiving, which only makes it that much harder for you to leave. But you shouldn’t have to live another day in fear.
Durham Domestic Violence Attorney
Your Durham Domestic Violence Attorney can help you quickly attain a restraining order to help protect you and your children. In addition, if you want to pursue a divorce, Kevin E. Jones can help you gather the evidence of abuse that you need to illustrate to the court that your safety, and that of your children, is at risk. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options when it comes to domestic violence. Don’t let another Valentine’s Day pass before getting out.