It is difficult to determine how many domestic violence cases occur each year, as not all cases are reported. Additionally, surprisingly, the U.S. does not have an agency or organization that tracks domestic violence complaints and allegations. More importantly, the definition of domestic violence is recognized differently from state to state across the country, making tracking domestic violence statistics extremely problematic.

Defining Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can happen between people who are married or separated, cohabitating, or were once in a domestic relationship, dating now or in the past, or have a child or children together. Domestic violence can also happen between people who are related by blood. In these intimate relationships, if physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, or threats of abuse are occurring, they would be deemed as instances of domestic violence.  

Evolving Definitions

While the definition may seem simple enough, the definition of domestic violence differs across the country, from state to state. Meanwhile, as the definitions of “family” and “domestic relationships” have evolved drastically over time, a true definition of domestic violence has become more widely recognized. For instance, elder abuse or abuse from a brother-in-law could be considered domestic violence in some states, while not in others.

Reluctance of Reporting Domestic Violence

Sadly, many victims of domestic violence are reluctant to say anything about the abuse. Some victims are in situations wherein they rely on the abuser as their sole caretaker financially or are afraid reporting the abuse will cause more problems or reap consequences. An example of this would be a stay at home mother who is experiencing abuse at the hands of her husband, who makes 100 percent of the income. If she reports her husband, she will no longer have financial security, therefore, it may seem better not to report the abuse. Other victims may be afraid the law will not protect them from the abuser, therefore, also afraid of the consequences of reporting the abuse.

Long-Term Effects of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence has many long-term effects, including chronic depression, anxiety, eating disorders, emotional numbing, health problems, panic attacks, sleep disorders, and many more. It can also put a strain on family relationships and even result in suicide attempts. Children living in a home where they see domestic violence, it can have long-term effects for them, as well.

We Are Here To Help

A Phoenix Family Law lawyer can help you understand your options if you are experiencing domestic violence. Feel free to contact the Ronald Kossack if you, or someone else you know, needs legal guidance about domestic violence, 480.345.2652.