According to statistical reports on domestic violence, around 960,000 to 3,000,000 cases of abuse are recorded annually. Moreover, there are also countless cases that remain unreported. In the United States itself, approximately more than ten million people go through domestic violence.
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Domestic violence definition
Domestic abuse is an attitude from a partner, ex-partner or family that:
- Is domineering, forceful, controlling, threatening, or abusive
- Takes place between people more than 16 years old
- Both men and women can be a victim of domestic violence.
It is not necessary that domestic violence is only related to physical abuse. It can be of different types. Most people often do not report domestic violence cases because they don’t consider it as a form of abuse. However, you must know what is perceived as domestic violence to keep yourself and those you love safe. The different types of domestic violence are as follows:
In addition to this, domestic violence can also involve cases such as harassment, female genital mutilation, stalking, honour killings, and forced marriage. Moreover, it can also include trafficking.
How long do you have to report domestic violence?
If you are a victim of domestic abuse and violence,it is advised that you try to report the case to any law enforcement authority as soon as possible. The sooner a victim will report the case to the authorities, the higher the chances will be for police to inspect the case.Thus, in turn it will also allow the state to deal with the criminal as soon as possible.
Most of the states offer a statute of limitations which means that such crimes of different asperity can only be tried in court for a specific period of time. However, in some states, more severe crimes like rape are not required to have a statute of limitation in order to be prosecuted. The statute of limitation is based on the asperity of the allegations.
What to do if you are a victim?
Being a victim of domestic violence is very hard. Often at times, you are threatened and cannot even report the case. However, it is of paramount importance that you immediately seek help. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you should:
- find a safe place to stay
- take legal action
- report the domestic violence case to the police
- stay in your home and get the abuser to go
- get a restraining order from the court against your abuser
- seek help from an organization who deals with victims of domestic abuse
Reporting the violence to the police
Most cases of domestic abuse are felonious offences which can result in the police arresting, warning or charging the criminal.
Majority of the police stations have special Domestic Violence Units or Community Safety Units. These units consist of officers who are specifically qualified to tackle cases that involve domestic violence and abuse.
If you find yourself in an abusive and violent situation, you should immediately call 999 or 101. In addition to this, you can also visit your local police station to file a report.
If the abuser is arrested, it is up to the police to either agree to his bail or keep him in police custody for a little longer. In case the perpetrator is bailed out, there will be conditions provided that will keep you safe from further violence.
You should always remember to ask them to give you your crime reference number. This number will help you in case you want to contact other organizations for help.
The police can also get a police marker for your address and also help you in any other way. The police marker will allow an officer to reach your place as soon as possible in case of an emergency.
Pressing charges – what does it mean?
It is often misrepresented that an individual can press charges against the abuser. You must know that only the state or the government dealing with the case can press charges against the harasser.
In case of domestic violence, the police usually ask the victim if they want to press charges which gives a sense of authority to the victim. However, the final decision is held by the state. This question is usually only asked so that the police can gouge out your stance in case any charges were to be pressed against the perpetrator. By and large, regardless of whether a casualty requests that the examiner drop the charges, or even abnegates their announcement, it may not affect an investigator’s choice to continue
Even if you ask for the charges to be dropped, it will make no difference once the state decides that charges need to be pressed against the abuser.
Taking legal action
You could also seek help from a family lawyer or a domestic violence advisor. Receiving some professional advice and help may be a really great thing. You might think that you don’t need help, but you would be surprised to know about all the areas that you actually do with a little guidance and help. You may need some assistance in:
- receiving your property back
- making yourself the legal owner of your home
- deciding who your children get to live with
- getting a divorce
Private NGOs and local advice agencies can even help you find a lawyer who can then fight your case and even represent you in court if needed.
Whenever you are willing, just get yourself an appointment. However, it is advised that you do so as early as possible. Moreover, take someone with you on the first meeting so that you are not alone. In this interview, the advisor or lawyer will go through all the legal actions that you might want to take.
Get legal protection
When planning to get legal protection, you can ask the court to:
- carry out a ‘non-molestation order’ where they can prevent your significant other from assaulting or threatening you
- carry out an ‘occupation order’ where they can get your significant other to leave your home and even put a hold on them returning
- You can also apply for a non-harassment order through CourtNav. CourtNav is run by the RCJ Citizens Advice. The RCJ Citizens Advice specialises in legal services.
The CourtNav system will also help you in either one of two ways:
- assist you finding a lawyer if you are unable to get any legal help
- assist you applying to the court yourself
Moreover, you must also give the court your address. In case you are threatened by your abuser, you can also request for your address not to be shared with anyone.
Is it too late for you to press charges?
It is never too late to report a domestic abuse case. However, the chances of officials filing for it reduce day by day. It is better to immediately visit your local police station and then they will tell you what to do.
It is always better to file a police report as early as possible. This is because the more you delay it, the wounds start to heal and the proof gets lost. Regardless of this, the police will listen to you and may even file a report. Moreover, unless you do not file a report, the court will not be able to press any charges. Therefore, you must report the incident to the police.
You should give all the details to the police regarding where and when the violence took place. Moreover, you should also take pictures of your wounds and injuries as proof of the violence you were subject to.
Domestic violence can be really scary and hard for people to deal with. The massive threats, abuse and manipulation is something that no one should have to deal with. If you are a victim of domestic violence, it can often be hard to escape the toxic cycle. However, you need to be brave and immediately report the incident to the police. Only then will the court press charges against the perpetrator. So, if you want to escape the constant abuse, the first step should be to report to the police.