Domestic violence and abuse impacts a large segment of the population and presents a serious social, economic and legal burden to those affected. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. At this rate, over one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men who are subjected to domestic violence and abuse.
A common misperception is that domestic violence and abuse overwhelmingly affects women, in fact men comprise a larger portion of domestic violence and abuse cases in America in addition to the high rate of incidents direct at women victims. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence data shows that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Given that non physical domestic abuse is much more difficult to track the numbers affected, the rates of combined domestic violence and abuse may be much higher.
What is domestic violence and abuse?
What constitutes domestic violence and abuse can include a wide range of behavior that involves behavior by a person in a domestic setting (marriage or cohabitation) whose intent is to coerce or intimidate another person in that domestic setting using some form of abuse or physical violence. Domestic violence and abuse does not always involve a married couple and can involve a same sex couple. It can also include what is commonly referred to as family violence which includes child abuse, elder abuse, or other abuse directed at a family members.
The type of conduct that is considered domestic abuse or violence varies by state but can involve a wide range of behavior other than simply making physical contact with another person. Domestic violence can involve what is normally considered battery and violent sexual acts. Domestic abuse may include emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that threaten or coerce another person. Abuse can include any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
If you are victim of domestic violence, it is important to hire a lawyer experienced in representing victims of domestic violence. A skilled domestic violence attorney can help, explain the rights you may have and how to best protect yourself from an abusive partner or family member.