Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence – A Correlated Generalized Deviance

I believe it is safe to say that a majority of defendants charged in our courts with animal abuse have prior domestic violence convictions as well. It is because of the “generalized deviance” that domestic violence and animal abuse are correlated. Anti-social behavior of different levels can happen in one individual but how that individual came to exercise the deviance is more complicated as there are many pathways that lead to it. An example of one of these exercises is the individuals use of violence or other anti-social manipulations to “solve” problems which is called “modeling” and explains why violence is often intergenerational. Although animal abuse and domestic violence are correlated, it varies as to which occurs first.

But are there any numbers we can connect here; any studies conducted to make this deviance a little more tangible? A study done in New Jersey found that in 88% of households where children were physically abused, there were records of animal abuse as well. In Wisconsin, four out of five battered women cases revealed the partner had been violent toward pets. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence conducted a study of abuse victims after arriving at domestic violence shelters and found that 85.4% of women and 63.0% of children reported incidents of pet abuse. The Chicago Police Department’s Domestic Violence Program compiled a history of arrestees for animal fighting/animal abuse for the period of 2000-2001 and found that approximately 30% had a conviction of domestic violence on their record. Animal abuse is often associated with other serious crimes such as drug offenses, gangs, weapons violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence and the individuals committing these acts of violence against animals are viewed as a danger to the public and therefore, must be addressed. The whole premise of an animal abuser is to demonstrate power. The abuser will batter an animal to hold control over his family, to isolate them and enforce submission. He will abuse a pet to perpetuate a fearful environment; to prevent a victim from leaving or coerce them to return. They will batter an animal to punish a victim for showing independence.

First responders and professionals who investigate abuse should be aware and trained to observe the cycle of violence. Some states practice this observance and take it a step further by implementing cross-reporting laws. When an animal control officer is called to investigate animal abuse in a home with children, they are mandated to report child abuse when animal abuse is confirmed. Children are generally more willing to discuss what happened to a pet than they are to their own victimization. In Ohio, any child under the age of 18 years of age who commits cruelty to a pet, is required to undergo psychological evaluation to determine individual or family counseling as necessary. The legislation also permit’s the court to include a protection order for any companion animal in the home of the person seeking a criminal protection order, domestic violence protection order, a civil stalking order, a sexual offense protection order, or the approval of a civil domestic violence consent agreement. Often a partner will abuse a pet that is in the home as a tactic to keep the victim under control. It is understood that many victims will not leave when it puts their pets in harm’s way. When questioning victims and their children, first responders should be alert for signs of child and/or pet victimization. They should ask if the abuser or anyone else threatened to harm their pet and ask if they need help finding a safe place for their pet to go if they leave. Many victims will not prosecute their abuser however, animal cruelty prosecution can result in incarceration or treatment that is equal to results from a domestic violence prosecution.

Domestic Violence Shelters, Animal Shelters, and Humane Organizations can do much to offer protection for animal victims. When working with abuse victims in their safety planning, be sure they include their pets. Question them about any threats or injuries to their pets. Work with legislators to include pets in orders of protection and educate judges on the necessities of these inclusions. Team up with your local animal control and humane organizations and local domestic violence shelters to establish emergency housing of pets coming from homes experiencing violence. If there is no space available, establish a network of homes that provide emergency care for these pets through foster care agencies then incorporate these connections in school programs where they might reach children who are at risk of family violence. Also, many YWCA’s have pet shelter programs that are in partnership with the humane society, local clinics, kennels, stables, and veterinarians.

Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence often choose to stay in abusive relationships to protect their pets. A study shows that 71% of women seeking “safe haven” in domestic violence shelters had companion animals threatened, hurt, or killed by their abuser. Many victims never even go to a shelter because of this fear for their pets. It is in recognition of this fact that many states have passed laws including pets in court-issued orders of protection and to include any animal that is harmed or threatened with harm in the state’s definition of “domestic violence.” Society doesn’t consider animal cruelty as severe as violence against humans but it is increasingly viewed as a serious issue by professionals in law enforcement and mental health. Effective prosecution of animal abuse can provide early and timely response to those who are, or who are at risk of becoming, a threat to the safety of others. It is a tool for protection for victims of family violence, developing new skills and understanding which will help build a truly compassionate society.

Domestic Violence – What It Is And The Most Common Charges

Domestic violence cases are some of the most common types of cases taken on by criminal defense attorneys. So lawyers must have vast knowledge of domestic violence law in order to have a successful practice, but it’s important for lay citizens to have a good understanding of this type of law as well.

The definition of domestic violence is an act or threat of violence between people in an intimate relationship. The violence could be intimidation, control, coercion, or punishment as well. The people in question do not have to be married in order to fall under the domestic violence umbrella, but they do have to be proven to be in an intimate relationship by the District Attorney.

There are all shapes and sizes for these types of cases that come through the office of an experienced criminal law attorney, but some of the cases show up more often than others. There is a top 5 list of allegations that most attorneys would agree are the most common cases that they receive calls about. That list is outlined below:

1. Child Abuse or Child Endangerment- Involving a child in any of the types of violence explained in the second paragraph or having a child in the same area as violence against another could result in a domestic violence charge.

2. Battery- This is when an injury incurred due to violence is not severe enough to warrant a felony, but instead just a misdemeanor

3. Criminal Threats- Even though no physical harm is imposed through a threat, it is still illegal to threaten someone with serious harm or injury to cause fear within them.

4. Corporal Injury to a Spouse or Cohabitant- This means physical violence has actually occurred and there is physical evidence to show for it (ie a bruise, or swelling). Depending on the severity, the act of violence could be charged as a felony or misdemeanor.

5. Elder Abuse- Neglecting, causing physical or emotion abuse to, or financial fraud to a person over 65 years old is also considered domestic violence.

Police can make arrests for domestic violence allegations fairly liberally, so just because someone has been arrested, doesn’t mean they’re going to be charged with a crime. People who are worried about being charged, though, need to get a hold of a criminal defense attorney to ensure that they are properly protected. Without the help of a criminal defense lawyer, people are left directionless in their moment of need due to accusations against them.

Don’t get left alone in your moment of need. Call an attorney if you think you may be charged for a domestic violence crime.

The Laws Behind Domestic Violence

“Domestic violence is a criminal matter and needs to stay in criminal court,… Too often, judges see charges of domestic violence as a ploy to get custody and send the case to family court.” – Catherine Campbell.

The Federal government has enacted many domestic violence laws to protect those that are married or in a domestic partnership from being victimized and abused. There are specific laws that deal with stalking, protection, traveling to commit violence, and violence against women. These laws are dealt with specifically on the federal level, and then there are state specific laws as well.

In 1994, Congress joined the fight against domestic violence by enacting legislation as part of the crime bill. Historically, the government did not have jurisdiction over domestic violence related crimes that occurred in the community. These types of crimes were dealt with in the local and state levels. The Congress of the United States recognized that crimes against women and children were posing a serious problem. Congress came up with legislation to address the shortcomings called the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This legislation created laws to address some types of domestic violence crimes on the federal level.

The precedent that was set by Congress in 1994 spread to the fifty states also. The states were asked to pass harsher laws dealing with crimes related to domestic violence. As time has passed, laws have been created to address other issues such as stalking, internet stalking, internet related crimes such as communicating threats, and so on.

Laws have been passed to fund help for victims and their children. The government has also made grants available to help states implement more support programs and networks to add victims of this type of crime. There is a national hotline that has also been created to connect victims with someone in their local area to help them with intervention and information.

The federal government has also created programs that rank how states are doing in the fight against dating violence, and are funding more shelters. The government is taking this fight very seriously and is backing their stance with funding and support. How successful have these new laws been? Well this depends upon who you ask. Official statistics show that the domestic violence laws put into place are making a dent in the amount of crimes being reported and being committed. Advocates claim that the instances of domestic violence have increased and are continuing in an upward trend.

We are making progress in the fight in our communities by making more programs and making help available to victims. We are not making progress in decreasing the amount and severity of instances of violence. More funding should be given to rehabilitate the perpetrator of this violence to end the cycle. Adding more severe domestic violence laws to punish might curb some violence but not all.

Domestic Violence Attorneys – Should You Hire a Domestic Violence Attorney

Domestic violence laws are becoming more obscure under current laws. It is getting to be easier to prosecute a person under these laws for almost any crime committed in the home. They encompass abuse against a family member, significant other, or basically anyone living under the same roof with you.

You need to find out state specific laws when it comes to violent crime the same as any other. Domestic violence attorneys are knowledgeable in the laws that govern your specific geographic location.

When you move to a new area or work outside of your home state you will be subject to local laws and jurisdictions. The adage ignorance of the law is no excuse carries over into this area just like other laws.

If you are charged with a domestic violence crime you will need representation by a skilled domestic violence attorney. This crime can carry a very steep sentence if convicted. You do not want this crime on your record to follow you around.

You may be innocent but without a good lawyer who knows the rules that govern your specific situation you could still be found guilty. If not properly represented our current legal system could rule against you. You need to make sure the person you hire to defend you knows what he is doing.

When you step in a courtroom it is your word against your accuser. If you hire any lawyer you find in the yellow pages you may not be well represented. Domestic violence lawyers know about all aspects of this type of crime and will be your best chance at getting cleared of these charges. Don’t put your life in the hands of anyone else. Do the research now and find good representation.

Dealing With Domestic Violence And Family Law

Dealing with a court case is difficult. And it is even more so when dealing with a family court case. One of the most common that involves families is domestic violence. As would be expected, victims should be encouraged to stand up against such an offense. However, the family law that deals with domestic violence is as not as friendly as would be expected. For the most part, it is especially risky to victims. Aside from other difficulties the victims have to be faced with, the law requires victims to secure criminal case documents against the offender. In which case, domestic violence victims should be careful in making decisions from the filing of the case to the rest of handling the demands of the proceedings.

Aside from dealing with the case emotionally coupled with the shame of having to face such an issue, the victims also have to deal with legal aspects. There are many things to understand. Such elements can either make or break the chances in court. So it is important to have a better understanding of the law. In this regard, having a dependable legal counsel will be of great help.

A clear understanding of the family law and court limitations with regard to handling domestic violence cases should be established. Along with the hired lawyer, the victim should see to it that enough evidence is secured and duly presented in court. Of course, the defendant will have the chance to present or counter the accusations and can also present their own evidences against the victim. In this case, the victim should be prepared to make a defense for any possible accusations which may be presented in court.

As a prerequisite to filing for a domestic violence case, a criminal case should be duly filed. The victim should ensure that the police or the DA have the corresponding proof against the abuser. If none is filed, the victim should absolutely make a police report of the criminal act.

If things are particularly difficult just filing for the case, it will become even tougher during the case proceedings. Hence, extensive preparation is called for. The family law and the way victims are protected can be discouraging and it certainly involves legal complexities. This is why treading the case alone is not recommended. Having a dependable and credible lawyer for back up and guidance will be of great help to get through and possibly win the case.