Domestic violence is a prevalent and serious human rights infringement. It may include physical, sexual, psychological, or financial abuse or a combination of two or more of these. It often leads to severe injuries or death.
Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence varies from situation to situation. However, there are signs that an individual has the predisposition to be abusive or violent towards a household or family member. These signs include:
- Efforts to control the behavior of the victim
- Extreme temper
- Extreme jealousy
- Detachment from family members and friends
- Damage of personal property, mistreatment of family pets, or threats to harm the victim’s children, family, or pets.
Forbidden Acts: Physical Violence and Threats of Violence
Some states forbid acts of physical violence as well as threats of violence. Minnesota, for instance, defines domestic violence as harming or intending to harm a household or family member along with acting in a way that causes a victim to justifiably fear physical injury or death. According to the state, a household or family member consists of a partner or former partner, parents, children, blood relatives, individuals who are currently cohabiting or have cohabited, those who have been in an intimate relationship, and those who have children together.
Charges and Consequences
Depending on the laws of the state and factors surrounding the abuse, domestic violence can be deemed a felony or misdemeanor. In some states, prosecutors can charge domestic violence either as a felony or misdemeanor based on their preference. The long-term consequences of domestic violence criminal charges include jail sentences, fines, probation, and the obligation to undergo a compulsory domestic violence class. The victim may also obtain an order of protection that bars the abuser from having contact with the victim.
A domestic violence charge can result in immigration consequences, especially if the defendant is a non-citizen. According to federal law, an alien (a person who isn’t an American citizen or national) who is found guilty of a domestic violence crime may be deported. Violation of an order of protection by an alien can also result in deportation.
Filing an Order of Protection
A domestic violence victim can file an order of protection through a divorce attorney or an online platform established by the court. A spouse can also obtain an order of protection if he or she is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that children are at risk of getting abused or harmed by a significant other or family member. A plaintiff obtains an order of protection by petitioning the civil court where he or she, or the defendant, lives.
In Indiana, the protection order forbids the abuser from making any contact with the victim or showing up at the victim’s home or workplace. It shields the victim from all forms of domestic abuse. In the event of suspected child abuse, the order of protection can also forbid the suspected abuser from visiting the child’s home or school, along with taking part in the child’s activities. If a suspected abuser violates an order of protection, he or she can be arrested and charged with a crime.
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