Manhattan Domestic Violence and Assault Lawyers
When domestic violence is discussed, most people immediately think about husbands or male partners assaulting wives or female partners. In truth, domestic violence is a broader category that covers situations involving child abuse to situations involving elder abuse. Additionally, there are many forms that the abuse can take and, when law enforcement becomes involved, they often find that sexual abuse plays a part in the incidences. There may also be physical abuse, emotional abuse, and even financial abuse.
Essentially, physical abuse involves taking actions to make another individual fear for his or her physical safety. In terms of domestic violence, anyone can perpetrate physical abuse on anyone else. Parents, siblings, spouses, and even cousins may be involved as either the perpetrator or the victim of physical abuse. Common acts include slapping, punching, and kicking, but driving recklessly with another in the vehicle or invading someone else’s physical space can also be considered physical abuse.
As previously mentioned, sexual abuse plays a part in many domestic violence situations. Although it’s most common between romantic partners, it can be perpetuated against a child, a sibling, or an elder relative as well. In addition to rape and similar forms of sexual assault, this can also consist of using sex as a tool by withholding it from a partner. However, sexual assault is seen most often and involves the penetration of the vagina and rectum, but also includes fondling, oral sex, and other acts commonly deemed sexual in nature. A person may be said to be a victim of sexual assault or abuse, if they are below the age of consent (18 in most areas) or if they did not give consent.
Where sexual abuse is concerned, the perpetrator can often be charged with crimes, once law enforcement becomes involved. For instance, first degree sexual abuse is a class D felony, which carries a maximum seven year prison term. There are several classifications for the crime of rape, as well. The least severe distinction is third degree rape and a conviction of this charge carries a four year term of imprisonment.
There are some sex crimes that are considered especially heinous and, as such, carry heavier punishments. Aggravated sexual abuse involves forcibly inserting a foreign object into the bodily orifice (vagina, rectum, urethra) of the victim. If convicted of this class B felony, you may be given a prison term of up to 25 years.
Emotional abuse might be more frequently reported, if more people recognized the signs that it was happening to them. This involves repetitive criticism and insults intended to lower one’s self-esteem. Commonly, a person’s looks or eating habits are criticized, though they may also be ridiculed for their sexual performance, as well as other personal attacks. As difficult as it is to identify, emotional abuse is even more challenging to prove in court. Victims of emotional abuse often become involved in years of therapy, before they can ever truly recover.
This can occur between any family members, but it most often occurs between an adult child and an elder parent. Finances are used to maintain power and control over the other individual, so this is seen where one individual handles the money for the household. They may withhold an allowance or deny access to finances through other means. Additionally, the abuser may withdraw funds from the victim’s accounts for their own purposes without the victim’s knowledge or permission. In romantic relationships, financial abuse is used to keep the victim from leaving the situation, because they no longer have the financial means to act independently.
Protection Orders Can Help the Victim
If you are the victim of domestic abuse or assault in any form, a lawyer may be able to help you obtain an order of protection. More commonly known as a restraining order, this is a court order that makes it illegal for the perpetrator to approach you. The order will designate how much of a distance the individual must keep from you, your home, or your place of employment.
Initially, a protection order is an immediate response to an emergency situation to separate the victim and the abuser. Once the case goes to court, the judge may establish a longer term for the order. In this situation, the defendant will be offered an opportunity to give his or her side of the story. Once the hearing is over, the judge will make a determination.