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Violence Against Women Act Defines Domestic Abuse

Sept. 8, 2019

Domestic violence allegations often involve physical violence. However, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) establishes that hitting someone is not the only way to face criminal charges. While the definition of abuse has changed since the passage of the law, society's perception of the situation really hasn't.

Some people think only about physically battered women, but abuse claims under VAWA can also include intimidation, harassment and interfering with a person's liberty. They can also apply when a male is the alleged victim.

Because of these broad meanings, someone can yell at their spouse and be accused of domestic violence. The same is true of those standing in doorways, as they could face accusations of keeping their accusers in the room. Another troubling aspect of domestic violence is the presumption that the accuser must be protected. An order of protection is usually issued, which means you can't have contact with your accuser. You might also be barred from seeing your kids by the order, making child custody matters challenging.

The court may order supervised visitation or no visitation at all due to the violent allegations. Your ex might claim that changing custody to 50/50 or even deviating from the current schedule may harm the children. One factor to consider in custody matters is which parent provides the majority of the child's care. If you don't see the children, your ex could use this against you.

It is best to explore your defense options immediately once you are accused. This gives you time to review your choices and determine which serves you the best.