Domestic violence refers to crimes of assault, battery and sexual abuse that go on within the home, between married couples, families, and people who live together. Domestic violence may include physical abuse (child abuse, spousal abuse), verbal abuse (threats), sexual abuse (rape, child molestation), and emotional abuse.
Any person who is the victim of a violent act or has reason to believe he/she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of a violent act at the hands of someone he/she is involved in a domestic relationship with may be eligible to have a Domestic Violence Injunction granted.
A violent act can be one of the following: assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death.
As domestic relationship is defined as one in which the victim and assailant are married, formerly married, related by blood or marriage, have a child in common, are members of the same household or were formerly members of the same household at which time the parties were living as a family.
When determining whether or not an individual has reason to believe he/she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, the court must consider the following:
- The history between the parties, including threats, harassment, stalking, and physical abuse.
- Whether the alleged assailant has attempted to harm the complaining party or family members or individuals closely associated with the complaining party.
- Whether the alleged assailant has threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm the complaining party’s child or children.
- Whether the alleged assailant has intentionally injured or killed a family pet.
- Whether the alleged assailant has used, or has threatened to use, against the complaining party any weapons such as guns or knives.
- Whether the alleged assailant has physically restrained the complaining party from leaving the home or calling law enforcement.
- Whether the alleged assailant has a criminal history involving violence or the threat of violence.
- The existence of a verifiable order of protection issued previously or from another jurisdiction.
- Whether the alleged assailant has destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communications equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to the complaining party.
- Whether the alleged assailant engaged in any other behavior or conduct that leads the complaining party to have reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.