Domestic Violence & The Courtroom
Understanding The Problem... Knowing The Victim

Other Forms of Violence

Sexual Abuse - Sexual abuse is often present along with physical and emotional abuse. It is very difficult for the victim to describe sexual abuse that may be coerced by threats of further harm or actually accompanied by physical force. Most often a victim is bullied into complying with the abuser's demands to engage in sexual acts, or at a time when she is not physically fit for sexual activity, such as immediately after childbirth, surgery or during illness. The shame a victim feels afterwards further ties her to the batterer.

Child Abuse - Studies suggest that in approximately one-half of those abusive families where children are present, some form of physical and/or sexual abuse of children exists. The abusive partner usually is the one who may abuse the children. In most cases, where children witness domestic violence, they can be expected to have emotional effects and are at a higher risk for violence themselves. Additionally, studies show that violence affects children before birth. Assaults during pregnancy may lead to miscarriage, fetal injury and pre-term labor. The presence of child abuse makes a dangerous situation more lethal, especially when there is intervention by social services without an understanding of the dynamics of violent relationships. Removing the abusive partner or a child from the home may escalate the violence rather than stop it. Often, adding a helping professional is useful. Further protection and intervention is critical at this point.

Elder Abuse - Research suggests that an elderly victim is abused more often by an aging partner and caretaking children than those who are harmed by non-family caretakers. Family violence does not usually stop on its own. Family violence is a public health problem and every community agency must help recognize and deal with it.

Mutual Violence - It is often difficult to tell the difference between an act of self defense and a victim who is aggressive because of mutual violence. A victim who has been arrested may tend to plead guilty to get out of jail quickly in order to return to his or her children. A victim who fights back in self defense or in defense of another person should also be treated as a battered victim.

Dating Violence - Dating violence refers to verbal, physical, psychological or sexual abuse that occurs in relationships before partners marry or begin cohabiting. The term does not imply anything about the length or stability of the relationship. An act is classified as dating violence whether it occurred within the context of a single date or over a long period of time. Although popular attention has focused on sexual violence within dating relationships(date rape), researchers have noted that the full gamut of aggressive behavior, including murder, occurs within violent dating relationships.


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