Domestic violence was, for a very long time, a hidden crime, occurring behind closed doors, unsuspected by friends and neighbors, teachers and other professionals, unaddressed by the criminal justice system. Very slowly, over many decades, individuals who have suffered painful and degrading treatment within their own households have begun speaking out and being heard. Fortunately, each victim who speaks out, and whose domestic violence issues are addressed, inspires other victims to open up concerning the secret misery taking place inside their homes.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, this is the perfect time for you to get yourself and any other endangered members of your household to a safe haven and contact a domestic violence attorney who can help protect you and compensation help you heal. If you reside in Arizona, you have the advantage of living near one of the most compassionate and competent family law attorneys in the country: Mitchell E. Cohen. Cohen Family Law, located in Phoenix, is a practice dedicated to protecting you from further abuse and supporting you as you begin your new, healthy life.
Who Are the Domestic Violence Victims of Arizona?
First of all, it is important to realize that domestic violence is not defined by gender. Victims and abusers may be male or female, straight or gay, bisexual or transgender. They may be current or past spouses or romantic partners, siblings, children, grandparents, stepchildren, or any other members of the household. In many cases, domestic violence involves threats or attacks directed at a third party, commonly a child, close friend, in-law or even a pet, as a means of intimidation and control over the targeted victim.
The Multiple Issues of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence involves a number of possible issues. Cohen Family Law is prepared to assist you in all aspects of the problem, including recommending resources to keep your family members safe and assist you in receiving any necessary treatment. In our capacity as your legal counsel, we are ready to assist you in pursuing any of the following options:
- Finding a safe haven
- Filing for an order of protection
- Initiating a legal separation or divorce
- Obtaining child custody
- Receiving child support
Our office is dedicated to keeping you and your family safe and emotionally supported throughout the legal proceedings. We realize that, though you are taking steps to alter the damaged structure of your home life, you will still desire our discretion. You can count on us to be trustworthy and nonjudgmental, as well as legally savvy. In our office, you can always count on being treated with dignity, care, and respect.
The Purpose of Restraining Orders
The purpose of a restraining order is to interrupt the cycle of domestic violence by mandating that the alleged abuser avoid any contact with his or her victim, including through a phone or electronic device. The abuser may also be ordered to vacate the family home, surrender any firearms in her/his possession, and refrain from consuming alcohol or illegal drugs. Further threatening the victim while the restraining order is in place is a criminal offense that may result in additional penalties. Knowing this will be a powerful tool to keep the abuser’s behavior in check.
Specific Types of Domestic Violence
Domestic abusers often attempt to minimize their violent actions, declaring: “I barely touched her,” “The sex was consensual,” “I have to yell and slap him or he doesn’t listen.” Too many victims take their abuser’s word that they won’t be believed if they speak up, or believe their abuser’s threats that any revelation of the violence that has taken place will be met with even harsher “punishment.”
The truth is that a broad range of actions can and will be taken seriously as acts of domestic violence by the Arizona courts and viewed as prosecutable offenses. These include:
- Physical abuse — hitting, slapping, kicking, battering, biting, punching, shoving, pinching, hair-pulling, scratching, using a weapon to threaten or attack
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Sexual abuse — coercing into nonconsensual sexual contact or engaging in sexual assault
- Economic control and/or neglect
- Emotional abuse — constant criticism, taunting, name-calling designed to diminish the victim’s self-esteem or devalue a parent in front of his/her child
- Endangerment — putting the victim in harm’s way; preventing the victim from asking for help
- Psychological abuse — threats of physical harm to victim or victim’s loved ones
- Physical restraint — isolating the victim from loved ones, keeping her/him from work or school
- Criminal property damage
- Criminal trespass — for nefarious purposes
- Stalking — harassment in person, phone, or electronic device
- Photographing, videotaping, recording, secretly watching — the victim in a private place, during private acts, or with private parts of your body exposed
If you have suffered any of the above, Cohen Family Law is ready to help you move forward and get on with your life, whatever form such action takes. You should understand that the state of Arizona will not dismiss cases once an individual has been accused of domestic abuse. Even if you decide not to press charges, your abuser will be aggressively prosecuted for his/her serious crimes. Hopefully, this knowledge will help to strengthen your resolve to follow through with your escape from a dysfunctional, painful life. Remember, Cohen Family Law has your back. Please get in touch with us by phone or by filling out one of our website contact forms for a free initial consultation.