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Domestic Violence Beyond Couples and Children

It is a common misconception that the term “domestic violence” pertains only to spouses. In reality, domestic violence is a serious crime that encompasses many forms of abuse between people who know each other. For some, the lines between arguments or disputes and domestic violence may be difficult to discern, but it’s important to understand how this crime is defined and how it may affect you or your loved ones.

In simplified terms, domestic violence occurs when a person acts in such a manner that is likely to exert unwelcome control of another in the context of an intimate or familial relationship. Although physical abuse is the most commonly recognized aspect of domestic violence, it may also include things like verbal and emotional abuse, sexual abuse, intimidation and coercion.

Recently a case appeared in the news wherein  there was an incident that, at first glance, may not have been interpreted as a domestic violence situation. It was alleged that a woman stabbed her two adult daughters resulting in non-life-threatening injuries. Both daughters were over the age of 18. Regardless, because the three women are relatives, the case is being treated as an act of domestic violence and the daughters’ names are being protected.

This case fell under the jurisdiction of New York State’s “mandatory arrest” law, which stipulates that, under certain conditions, the police are required to make an arrest. For a mandatory arrest to take place, the victim and abuser must be considered “members of the same family or household.” The only exception to the mandatory arrest law is if both people have committed misdemeanor-level crimes against the other. If that is the case, the police must determine who the “primary aggressor” was and arrest that person.

If you or someone you know has been accused of domestic violence, do not delay contacting a skilled attorney in the New York area. This can mean the difference between effectively protecting your rights and receiving harsh and potentially inappropriate penalties. 

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