Like everywhere else in the country, domestic violence is an ongoing problem in Virginia. At the very least, a domestic violence incident is a physical attack on a family member, whether a spouse, domestic partner or child. Domestic abuse, however, can also include emotional, psychological and even sexual abuse. Unfortunately, too many victims fail to understand that they have the right to leave these relationships.
Any abuse victim who finds most or all activities of daily life controlled by another person can file a domestic violence complaint against him or her. Until victims can leave their abusive relationships, however, they must be able to protect themselves from continued abuse. A few simple guidelines can help.
Because many abuse victims are concerned about their children's safety, developing a plan to keep them out of harm's way is important. Kids should be taught how to call police in case of an emergency, especially in cases of physical violence. Neighbors can be notified of any ongoing problem and asked to call authorities when they suspect abuse is taking place. Victims can also keep extra money, extra keys and important documents with people they trust if they need to flee. If police believe a victim's life is in danger, they can request an emergency protective or restraining order.
Although abusers can be extremely intimidating and frightening, victims of domestic violence and abuse in Virginia do not need to stay silent. Raising their voices against their abusers and cooperating with authorities to file charges against them can make a difference not only for themselves but also for their children and other family members.
Because taking such actions is a big step, getting advice from an attorney can help. Legal representatives who have experience with helping domestic violence victims can often assist their clients with the legal issues.
Source: Virginia.gov, "Domestic Violence," accessed on March 30, 2015