Facts about Domestic Violence...
Definition of Domestic Violence
Scope of the Problem
Types of Abuse
Risk Factors for Domestic Violence
Why Dont Victims Just Leave?
Presentation of Victims of Domestic Violence
Increasing the Recognition of Domestic Violence
Where to Go for Help
Order of Protection - What to know and how to get one...
What is an Order of Protection?
Who can you get an Order of Protection against?
How does an Order of protection help?
How do I file for an Order of protection?
What happens after I file?
What can the Judge decide at the hearing?
Other rights when you call the Police
Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors aimed at gaining power in order to control an intimate partner. Domestic violence is about power and control. It is not just about hitting or punching. It is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behavior, including psychological, sexual and physical abuse. The syndrome of dominance and control by the perpetrator leading to increasing entrapment of the victim is also known as the "battering syndrome." The majority of the time, it is a female that is abused. There are instances of a male being abused but it seems to be less common.
It is conservatively estimated that between two and four million women are battered each year in the United States. Nearly a quarter of women in the United States will be abused at some time in their lives. There are two thousand deaths each year. About 20-25 percent of pregnant women are victims of domestic violence. Nineteen to 30 percent of women coming to emergency departments with physical injuries are battered. Battered women account for 25 percent of women who attempt suicide and 25 percent of women using a psychiatric emergency service. There is no typical victim of domestic violence.
Until recently, wife-beating was an accepted part of marriage in many cultures. British common law allowed a man to "chastise" his wife with "any reasonable instrument." It was eventually modified to state that the weapon used to beat her must be no thicker than his thumb. This led to the commonly used saying "the rule of thumb." In 1895, the Married Women's Property Act gave women the right to use conviction for assault as sufficient grounds for divorce. The battered women's movement, which spearheaded the development and proliferation of shelters for battered woman, had its roots in the women's movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Today there are over twelve hundred shelters in this country.
Abuse does not just mean physical abuse. It takes several different forms that I will briefly describe.
1. Emotional abuse can be in the form of repeated verbal attacks. It can be coercing her into doing things that she may find humiliating or against her moral or religious principles.
2. Isolation is a type of abuse. The batterer finds fault with social contacts of the victim including family members. The victims end up with nobody to confide in.
3. The batterer may threaten to take or harm the children if she doesn't do what he wants her to do.
4. Gender role stereotypes play a dominant role in battering relationships. There are perceived "male privileges" that may enter into abusive relationships. An example would be forced sex because a woman might think that it is her "duty."
5. Economic abuse is frequently involved in an abusive relationship. Victims of domestic violence may have no independent access to money even if they are working. Their abusive spouse may harass them to the point that they turn over their paycheck as a way of avoiding further abuse. Lack of money is frequently responsible for keeping women in abusive relationships. They feel that there is no escape.
6. Sexual abuse includes rape as well as forcing the woman to perform sexual acts that she may feel are immoral. This is a way the perpetrator can control her body.
1. Single, separated or divorced
2. Poor self-esteem
4. Family history of domestic violence.
5. Pregnancy is a significant risk factor. Twenty percent of pregnant females are victims of domestic violence.
6. Alcoholism is frequently involved, but it is felt to be a consequence rather than a cause.
One very important reason why women don't just leave an abusive relationship is the very real fear that they will be harmed if they try to leave. The perpetrator will threaten the woman as well as other family members including children. She may not have the financial means to support herself and their children. The victim may feel that the children need an intact family. She may have religious or cultural beliefs that the family must remain intact at all costs. She may believe that the violence is her fault. She may still love the perpetrator and succumb to his promises never to let it happen again. It is a vicious cycle. Victimized women may not admit that the injuries they have received are the result of abuse even if they are asked. They may fear retribution if they tell. She may be unable to talk freely because the perpetrator is present.
Victims may present with almost any physical complaint irrespective of traumatic injuries. Recurring physical complaints with negative evaluations can suggest domestic violence. Headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations, numbness and tingling, and choking sensations. Chronic pelvic pain with a negative work up is suggestive of domestic violence. Attempted suicide is a frequent presentation of a battered woman. Chemical dependency is felt to be a frequent result of domestic violence. Victims of abuse may present to the doctor with injuries that are not consistent with their stories of how the injury occurred. Anxiety can be the main presenting complaint.
Physicians must keep a high index of suspicion to diagnose domestic violence early. Many medical schools have recently included domestic violence in their core curriculum. The American Medical Association is actively trying to educate physicians about domestic violence. The past president of the AMA, Dr. Robert McAfee has spread the message by lecturing all over the country to physicians as well as the general public. Physician education is a key component to early diagnosis and treatment since they are frequently directly involved in treating the injuries and may have a good rapport with the patient. A warning signal to physicians would be a time delay between the time of the injury and the time the patient seeks attention. Physicians should learn to question the victims in private where they are more likely to talk freely. Routine screening of patients during physical exams would be a good habit for physicians to develop. A physical exam can frequently give clues that could open up questioning concerning domestic violence.
Victims need to know their options. It may not always be better for them to leave the relationship abruptly. Frequently many factors are involved and they need to be the ones that make the decision. The Refuge House in Tallahassee offers a shelter as well as outpatient counseling and help groups that are funded by the United Way. The number is 681-2111. The American Medical Association has educational materials on domestic violence and can be reached at 1-312-464-5066. Information is also available through The Family Violence Prevention Fund at 1-800-313-1310. It is important that the victim is informed that she does not deserve to be abused. There is never a reason to justify abuse of a spouse. She needs to know that battering is a common problem that affects millions of women. She needs to know that help is available.
1. Salber PR and Taliaferro E. The Physician's Guide to Domestic Violence. Volcano Press, Inc. P. O. Box 270, Volcano, Ca 95689. 1-800-879-9636.
It is a paper signed by a Judge to protect you from certain people who have hit you or threatened you. You can get an Order of Protection without a lawyer.
You can file for an Order of Protection if one of these people has hit or threatened you: Your past or present husband or wife, your child's other parent, someone you live with or have lived with, or someone kin to you by blood or marriage.
It orders the other person not to bother you. You can have them arrested on the spot if they bother you after they know about the Order. It can also make the other person move out or pay for some other place for you and your children to live. It can let the other person live with you but order them not to hurt or threaten you. It can give you temporary custody of the children. It can order the other person to pay support money for you and/or the children.
Important: An Order of Protection does not protect your children. If they are in danger, you can file a petition in Juvenile Court and a referral will he made to the Tennessee Department of Human Services You can also call DHS directly at 615- 898-7000. Also, you are not safe just because you have an Order of Protection. After you file for the Order, you may still need a safe place to stay. You can call the Domestic Violence Shelter 24 hours a day at 896-2012 for information or a place to stay
You always have the right to try to get an Order of Protection. You do nor have to file within a certain number of days after the other person hits or threatens you. But it's a good idea to file as soon as possible.
Go to the Domestic Violence Program. Tell them you want an Order of Protection. They will help you fill out a paper called a petition. It asks the Judge to give you an Order of Protection. Do not stretch the truth or make things up in your petition. That will hurt your case and could led to criminal charges against you. If the Judge gives you an Order of Protection after a hearing, the other person will have to pay the cost. But you will have to pay it if you drop the charges or if the Judge does not give you the Order of Protection.
Before you leave, the Clerk's office will tell you when to come back for a hearing before the Judge. Be sure to write down the date and place so you won't miss it, and immediately contact the Domestic Violence Office so that a Court Advocate can be assigned to go to court with you.
The Judge signs an Ex Parte Order The Judge reads your petition. If Judge decides you need an Order of Protection, the Judge will sign one right away, if the Judge signs it be sure to get your own signed copy. Save it to show to the police, your boss or the landlord if you need to. This first order is called an "ex parte" (x-par-tay) order. !t is a temporary order until the Judge holds a hearing. it orders the other person to leave you alone. The ex parte order does not cover child support custody or whether the other person must move out of the house. That can only be done after a hearing.
The Sheriff tells the other person about the Order. After the Judge signs the Order, the Sheriff's Office will try to find the other person. When they do, they will read the Order to him or her. Once the other person knows about the Order, you can have them arrested on the spot if they hit or threaten you again. You may want to call the Sheriff's office to see if they have found the other person yet.
You go to a Court Hearing on the Order of Protection. It's important to go to the hearing. If you don't, the Judge will dismiss your case and you will have to pay the Court Costs; which is between $150.00 and $170.00. The Judges understand that you may be scared about the hearing. You do not have to have a lawyer for the hearing. even if the other person has one. You may want a lawyer though, if the other person has one. You can ask the Judge to give you time to get a lawyer.
To get an on-going Order of Protection, you must show the Judge that you are in danger. Before the hearing, think about questions you might be asked. Be ready to give short, simple, truthful answers. If possible, wear your good clothes to court. Bring to court any proof you have that the other person hit or threatened you. You can use a doctor's report, a police report or pictures of your injuries. You should bring as witnesses anyone who saw it happen or saw your injuries or heard the other person admit it. People you told about it cannot usually help you at the hearing.
The Judge will ask you what happened. Stick to the facts about when you were hit or threatened. The Judge will need to know when and where you were hit or threatened and exactly what the other person did. Don't talk about trouble with the other person's friends or family. Be sure to tell the Judge if the other person has hurt you before and if you had to see a doctor or leave home. Also tell the Judge if you have taken out a warrant for assault and battery or other criminal charges.
The Judge will let the other person ask you questions. Don't let this upset you. The Judge may also let you ask questions.
The Judge can stop the Order of Protection if the Judge thinks you have not shown you were in danger. The Judge can make the Order of Protection last longer, up to a year. The Judge can make the other person move out of the house or pay for another place for you to live. The Judge can give you temporary custody of the children, he can also set rules for visits with the other person. The Judge can require another adult to be at the visits if it would be dangerous to leave the children alone with this person. The Judge can order the other person to pay child support if he or she is the parent of your child.
The Judge can order the other person to support you if you are married. If possible, bring documentation of the other person's income. (Recent pay stubs, tax return, W-2 Form, etc.) This will help the Judge determine how much the support should be.
Whether or not you have an Order of Protection, you have certain rights. If you have been hurt, call the police right then. They can immediately arrest the other person even if they did not see it happen, as long as they have reasonable cause to believe the other person hurt you and may do it again. They decide this based on what you and other witnesses tell them. Also, when the police come because you have been hurt by someone you have lived with or have a child with, they should always do these things: Offer to take you to get an arrest warrant and to help you try to get one. Offer to take you to a shelter or somewhere else safe like the home of a friend or relative. If you don't want a ride, they should tell you about your legal rights and services that might help you. After you've contacted the police, notify your Domestic Violence Court Advocate.
Battering is an ongoing experience of power and control punctuated with violent episodes which can include hitting, pushing, biting, punching, scratching, burning, hairpulling, choking and raping. It also includes emotional abuse usually in the form of namecalling, threatening and relentless verbal attack, as well as neglect such as denied access to money, food or shelter.
Battering occurring in all socioeconomic, cultural, racial and religious groups. Three of five women in the U.S. will be battered in their lifetimes, and as well, it is the single major cause of injury to women exceeding rape, mugging and auto accidents combined. Twenty percent of visits by women to emergency services are caused by battering. Abuse escalates over time often starting as verbal attacks that erupt into violence and become increasingly more violent. Two thousand women are killed by their partners in the U.S. each year.
Domestic Violence Services, founded in 1980, is committed to ending violence in the lives of women. Our goals are to empower women so they can take control of their lives and to confront institutionalized discrimination. We strive to accomplish this by providing the following services: 24 hour hotline, Crisis intervention, Short-term counseling, Shelter, Information/referral, Advocacy, Support Groups, and Community education. All services are FREE and completely CONFIDENTIAL.
Domestic Violence Services provides service without regard to race, religion, abilities, sexual preference or marital status.
Saying no to violence means taking some action to help end battering in your community. By learning, talking and doing, each of us, whether or not we are battered can make a contribution. Here are some suggestions:
- Call the DVP hotline: 896-2012 if you or anyone you know is, fears, or has been abused by a partner.
- Call the police for yourself or a neighbor being battered.
- Believe a friend, relative or co-worker who tells you she's been abused and encourage her to cal DVP.
- Inform yourself by reading books and articles about domestic violence.
- Volunteer your time with DVP.
- Support DVP with a financial contribution.
You have a right to:
- Be Heard
- Say no and not feel guilty
- Make mistakes
- Ask for what you want
- Be alone
- Ask for information
- Make decisions about yourself
- Feel and express anger
- Be treated with respect and dignity
- Experience and express your feelings
- Change your mind
- Feel good about yourself
- Do less than you are humanly capable of doing
- Enjoy yourself
- Define and live by your own standards
HOTLINE - 896-2012 (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)
Where we are:
Domestic Violence Program, Inc.
209 North Maple Street Suite 10
Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37130