No one ever said that having a family would be easy, but if you’ve been falsely accused of committing domestic violence against a relative, you probably feel like family life is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can endure. Regardless of how your domestic violence accusations came about, it’s important to try and set your emotions aside and educate yourself on the issue at hand.
To help you learn as much as you can, here are a few questions about the crime of domestic violence:
What constitutes domestic violence?
Many people wrongly assume that domestic violence only relates to physical abuse — i.e., beating, hitting or striking a family member. In fact, domestic violence constitutes a litany of behaviors that include:
- Economic abuse: Denying or withholding economic benefits to control a family member.
- Physical abuse: Using hurtful physical actions against a family member.
- Emotional abuse: Abusing someone by purposefully hurting, manipulating and controlling them on an emotional level.
- Stalking: Following someone and invading their privacy in a way that causes them to fear for their safety.
- Psychological abuse: Directing name-calling, demeaning comments or other types of manipulative actions against a person’s psychology and self-esteem.
Could I face a personal injury claim related to domestic violence?
If someone accuses you of seriously hurting them in a domestic violence altercation, the alleged victim may decide to pursue a civil lawsuit against you in the form of a personal injury claim. The alleged victim can use as evidence documentation and verdicts from your criminal trial proceedings related to domestic violence to support their claims for damages. Of course, just like you will be able to defend yourself in a criminal action relating to domestic violence, you will also be able to defend yourself in civil court.
Can both men and women be accused of domestic violence?
By all means, the crime of domestic violence is not “gender specific.” All members of a family, including men, women, boys and girls can become alleged victims or alleged perpetrators of domestic violence. Although men are shy to report instances of domestic violence perpetrated by women, some men do step forward to lodge such complaints.
A domestic violence and other violent crime charges could have swift and immediate effects on an accused person’s freedom, reputation and ability to spend time with his or her family. If you’ve been accused of this kind of behavior, you may want to consider your criminal defense options carefully to determine how to protect your legal rights and respond to the charges in court.