In New Jersey and across the United States, domestic violence is a serious problem. Statistics show an average of 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner or spouse every minute in the United States. Rozin | Golinder Law wants to help provide important information on domestic violence, and help those that need it.
Domestic Violence: What is it?
For a situation between two people to legally qualify as “domestic violence,” a few factors must be in place. The victim must be over the age of 18, an emancipated minor, or a minor who is in a dating relationship with the abuser. The abuse must be carried out by a spouse, former spouse, present or former household member, or dating partner. Abuse also counts as domestic violence if the victim has a child with the abuser or is pregnant with the abuser’s child.
New Jersey law doesn’t offer any specifics when it comes to defining a “dating relationship.” When officers go on a domestic violence call, they use common sense to judge whether a situation qualifies.
The Types of Domestic Violence
There are different types of relationship abuse. Although physical violence poses the most immediate danger, the other types of abuse can be just as destructive.
This includes any type of physical violence, not just hitting or slapping. Hair pulling, pinching, biting, and scratching are also a concern. Some abusers are careful to avoid actions that would leave evidence, such as punching. It’s possible an abuse victim will not have visible bruises.
Emotional abuse includes behaviors like gaslighting. This is a tactic in which the abuser manipulates the victim to believe they are wrong or crazy. Name calling, put downs, attacks on appearance are other forms of emotional abuse.
Abusers often attempt to take full control of a victim’s life. One way they gain the power to do this is by taking control of the household’s finances. This prevents the victim from accessing the money they would need to leave the situation. Other forms of financial abuse include not allowing the victim to hold a job or work on their education.
A significant component of an abusive relationship is isolation. Over time, an abuser will often find excuses to dislike or disown the victim’s friends and family. They then force the victim to choose between their loved ones and the relationship. Due to the nature of abusive relationships, the victim often complies. Down the road, when they need help, they find themselves without a support system.
There are other forms of psychological abuse, such as threatening to commit suicide if the victim leaves. This takes advantage of the victim’s compassion and often guilts them into sticking around. The abuser may also threaten to harm the victim or family, friends, pets, or sentimental possessions.
Qualifying for Arrest: What Does it Take?
A victim’s statement qualifies as a basis for probable cause. This doesn’t mean calling the police will always result in an abuser’s arrest. Arrests are mandatory in some situations, and in others, the officer can decide.
The officer must arrest the accused when:
- The victim is in physical pain or has visible signs of injury.
- There is no sign of injury, but witnesses saw the abuser hurt the victim.
- The accused has a warrant for their arrest or violated a restraining order.
- The accused used a weapon in the attack.
If none of the above factors are in place, the officer can still make an arrest. They must have a reason to believe the victim is telling the truth.
There may be cases when both the abuser and the victim receive injuries during an altercation. Tell the officer if you had to fight back to save your life or protect your children or pets. Police will take the fact that you were defending yourself into account.
You can learn more about domestic violence laws in New Jersey here.
Your New Life Begins Today: Help for Victims of Domestic Violence
Leaving an abusive spouse is often a difficult process. From the restraining order to the divorce, we’re here to help every step of the way. Please contact Rozin | Golinder Law if you’re facing domestic violence in Monmouth, Somerset, or Union County. Separating from an abusive situation is easier when you have a qualified family law attorney in your corner.