The term “domestic abuse” has become quite popular with the
advent of feminist and equality movements not only in the US but throughout
the world. However, when it comes to criminal law, there isn’t a
specific case called domestic abuse. Abuse, domestic or not, can fall
under different cases such as assault, imprisonment, harassment, rape, and evenmurder depending the circumstances surrounding the event or events in question.
But what is domestic abuse in the first place?
Domestic abuse is a term used to describe violence that happens between
two people in an intimate relationship, such as marriage or cohabitation.
Abuse between people who are just dating can also be considered as domestic
abuse or violence. The abuse can be emotional, verbal, economic, and sexual
– not just physical violence. It can happen between heterosexual
or homosexual couples, abuse spares no one. Despite popular belief that
certain relationships are “healthier” than others, anyone
can be a victim of domestic abuse.
The numbers on domestic abuse
In terms of statistics, 30 percent out of the total number of domestic
abuse cases in the US, there is no action taken by the proper authorities.
38 percent of the cases only receive a verbal warning, allowing the abuse
to continue without further investigation. Only 26 percent of reported
cases lead to arrest and only a quarter of that leads to a case or charge
being filed. That’s a measly 7 percent out of the total number of
domestic abuse cases reported, and even then, the cases that are charged
are less serious than the original offense.
One of the characteristics of any form of abuse is that is a behavior that
persists and continues unless the abuser is separated from the abused.
Domestic abuse, whether physical or emotional, is a pattern of controlling
and ongoing behavior – a vicious cycle – something that needs
to be taken into account since most reports are based on recent incidents.
Authorities cannot expect for the victim to choose one incident to report
over years’ worth of abuse; it is simply impossible.
Effects of abuse
The concept of cyclical abuse does not stop between the couple; it also
affects the children that live with them. There is a concept in psychology
where people who are bullied, or watch people get bullied, on a regular
basis develop bullying tendencies themselves. It is then a fact that children
who watch their parental figure become the victim of abuse either turn
into an abuser themselves or allow themselves to become abused by their
The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are vast, from regressive
behavior to self-harm. Abuse is not something that should be ignored and
left “for the couple to sort out”. It is a crime that needs
to be punished, not with a slap on the wrist or a warning but with a case
filed against the abuser. Set up a conference or a consult with us at
Kyle Law Firm and we can help you build a case or defend against one.