Help for domestic violence victims
Victims of domestic violence are strongly urged to summon the courage to come forward and report their abuse to law enforcement authorities. Speaking out is usually the most difficult thing a victim must do, but it is typically only the first step in what can be a lengthy process.
Domestic violence laws address both the criminal and civil spheres of justice; there are provisions for domestic violence victims to press both criminal charges and to seek financial damages in civil suits. Physical abuse exacts an enormous toll on its victims, and if you've had to endure domestic violence, your road to recovery starts with seeking help.
Criminal Penalties for Domestic Violence
Perpetrators of domestic violence are subject to criminal prosecution, but it is because victims fear reprisal that many do not come forward. There are resources available in your community if you or your children are the victims of domestic violence, which are in place to ensure the safety of all victims and to facilitate the prosecution of perpetrators.
It's important that you build a strong case against the perpetrator, but your personal safety is the top priority. If you or your children are the victim of domestic violence, call the police or a local shelter for anonymous advice.
Domestic Violence Victims Can Launch Civil Lawsuits
The physical, mental and emotional pain caused by domestic violence can be devastating. It can interfere with the victim's ability to hold a job, provide for their families and even hold their lives together. Domestic violence counseling will be necessary in many cases. Child custody will become an issue if children are involved, as will divorce lawyers if you're married. The legal fees and expenses involved with this can add up to a large sum.
Civil law provides for you to sue the perpetrator of the domestic violence to recover financial damages for what you've been through. There are many legal precedents in which perpetrators have been ordered by the court to pay financial restitution to victims. A criminal domestic violence conviction will help your cause, but isn't necessary to recover damages. In any case, you should know your rights and seek the opinion of a seasoned and qualified attorney, who can advise you on whether or not a civil lawsuit is feasible.