Difficult Economic Times Directly Impact Domestic Violence

"...Economic hardship and unemployment can increase levels of aggressiveness..." Hurting the One You Love-Violence in Relationships, Irene Hanson Frieze (2005).

Recent research has suggested that violence in intimate relationships is more likely to occur when couples are experiencing economic difficulties. Repeat victimization is also more frequent when couples are experiencing financial strain such as unstable employment or unemployment. Further, financial strain may be serving to keep women who would have otherwise left, in an abusive relationship. (Information compiled by Julie Saffren, Esq.).

Considering the economic impact on domestic violence, it is important for victims to recognize the signs of abuse and take the necessary steps to protect themselves. According to a recent article on www.mtv.com , some common warning signs of domestic violence, especially among young people are intense jealousy, excessive calling or text messaging, monitoring calls or emails, frequently showing up unannounced, and frequent accusations of "cheating." While the above behaviors may eventually lead to domestic violence, it is also important to know what constitutes domestic violence under California law. The law regarding domestic violence in California is found in Family Code §6200, the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA). "Abuse" has very specific meaning under the DVPA and includes intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, sexual assault, placing a person in reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury, or molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, harassing, etc.

Unfortunately, many victims of domestic violence never reach out for help. With the current state of the economy, a common reason for staying in a violent relationship is lack of financial resources. However, victims also stay because of love, guilt, fear of violence, and lack of knowledge regarding their legal rights. Pop star Rihanna, has recently given insight on the victim's perspective, following her assault by former boyfriend Chris Brown. Rihanna told the media that she was embarrassed and ashamed by the assault. She blamed herself and reunited with Brown in an attempt to protect him. According to Nathaniel Fields, senior vice president of a victim assistance agency in New York, these feelings are common to victims of domestic violence and often prevent them from reaching out to obtain protection. Rihanna recognized this and advised other victims to "come out of the situation and look at it in the third person and for what it really is."

For those victims who do seek help, there are many legal remedies available for their protection. Consulting with an attorney can be helpful to determine whether you are a victim of domestic violence under California law and if so, to ensure that you are taking the proper steps to protect yourself and your children. At Mello & Pickering, LLP, we can assist you with your domestic violence case whether you are the victim or the alleged aggressor. We offer free 20 minute phone consultations wherein we can explain your rights and the legal process surrounding your case. Schedule an appointment with us today by calling (408) 288-7800, so we can help guide you through this difficult time.