According to the National Council Against Domestic Violence, 20 people per minute are physically abused by their partner. Domestic violence of any type should never be tolerated and victims need to be aware of their rights and the steps they can take to protect themselves. If you have been suffering from domestic violence, here is what you need to do next to take legal action.
What Are Your Rights as a Victim?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, there are certain rights afforded under the law. One of the first steps a person needs to take is to make sure they are in a safe place, far away from their abuser. This may mean seeking an abuse shelter and filing a restraining order against the individual. Although criminals have the right to hire criminal defense attorneys, it is important domestic violence victims have legal protection as well. The following are some of your rights as a victim.
You have the right to be protected from the abuser.
You have the right to be informed of any court dates and when the abuser is being released.
You have the right not to be excluded from any court proceedings.
You also have the right to be heard at any court proceedings.
You have the right to be treated fairly and as a victim of a crime.
The Crime Victims’ Rights Act
The Crime Victims’ Rights Act was put into place in 1984 and amended in 1988. This act was passed to protect victims of criminal acts and offers them the above rights to ensure they are protected. It is imperative domestic violence victims are aware of these rights that are afforded to them under the law so they can protect themselves in the process.
Steps You Should Take Now
There are a few different steps you should take right now. Domestic violence tends to escalate and it rarely gets better. Domestic violence sometimes leads to murder and it is essential you take the proper steps to protect yourself.
Get out right away and call 911. You should call 911 before calling a friend or family member. A prompt call to 911 gives credence to your domestic violence claim.
Once the police arrive, make sure you are fully cooperative in filing the incident report. Make sure to provide factual information, minus your opinions. You should ask each attending officer for their business card. Having the contact information of all attending officers is vital.
You should take advantage of all services offered via the court system. Temporary restraining orders should be filed immediately. Copies of the restraining order should be placed in your car, home, and job.
Meeting with an attorney who represents domestic violence victims is important. An attorney will guide you through all legal decisions that must be made and will protect your rights as a victim.
As a victim of domestic violence, there are legal steps that can be taken to stop your abuser. Taking the appropriate actions is paramount for your protection. Make sure an incident report is filed and the police are involved as soon as possible. It may be wise to seek legal help to ensure your rights are fully protected under the law.