Florida law defines domestic violence as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” Domestic violence is not just when two family members disagree and argue, a spat between a husband and wife or an anger management issue.
When there is suspicion of domestic violence or someone is charged with domestic assault, it is important that the difference between what is and is not domestic violence is applied to the situation. There may be circumstances that have brought about actions that fit into the first category, but are not the typical behavior of the alleged abuser. If the alleged abuser has a good attorney, that attorney should be able to show evidence to this effect in a court of law to possibly lessen the charges or maybe even have them thrown out.
However, if the alleged abuser has a history of violence, that behavior need to be recognized as domestic violence. An attorney can still help them, but they may need to take steps to help themselves also. The first step is realizing that they have a problem.
The signs of domestic violence also need to be recognized by the person being abused. Signs of domestic violence include: a) any physical violence such as hitting, slapping, kicking, pulling hair, or causing intentional injury in any way; b) extreme possessiveness or jealousy; c) controlling money; d) stalking; e) mental abuse such as name calling or hurtful remarks; f) isolation from others, such as family or friends; and g) demanding sex or unwanted sexual practices. There are others, but these are some of the more common signs.
If you are in a relationship and you recognize any of these signs, you need to put your safety first. Only you can decide if leaving is the right option, but having a safety plan in place is imperative.
If you suspect that you might be an abuser, test your relationship against the signs listed above, and get the necessary help before you harm someone or find yourself in need of an attorney. Counseling is a good place to start.
Source: Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Understanding Domestic Violence” Jul. 31, 2014