Cases of domestic violence are ghastly common in Texas. A study in 2011, by the University of Texas at Austin shows that every one out of three Texans has faced intimate partner violence in his/her lifetime, and the rate is higher than the national averages. The stress caused to people because of the lockdown also caused a significant rise in domestic violence cases (Houston saw an increase of 20 per cent).
Prosecution of Domestic Abuse Crimes
As the city’s stay-at-home order was going into effect in San Antonio, the San Antonio’s Family Justice Center created an emergency website that allows people to apply online for a protective order (a court order available to alleged victims in cases involving family violence, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, stalking, harassing the petitioner etc.).
An Emergency Protective Order also gives power to the applicant to take their child away from the abuser to a safe place for a specified duration of time. The applicant is provided with the responsibility of the child for the duration of the Emergency Protective Order as the court takes into consideration the best circumstances for the child’s welfare. Within the first week of the order, the San Antonio’s Family Justice Center had received more than 350 applications for an EPO.
The Domestic Violence Task Force in Dallas is the city’s lethality assessment protocol, in which police officers are allowed to screen individuals suspected of being at risk of family violence and connect them to local support services. Even in a case where the victim is unwilling to file an EPO, the police officer can do it on their behalf.
MAJOR REASON OF INCREASE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
During the pandemic, the financial crisis within households has been increasing by manifolds. In a dominating relationship where the abuser is the only earner in the family, the subjugate has to abide by the instructions of the abuser as he/she is dependent on them for their livelihood. The abuser takes this to their advantage, exercising power and control as per their will. The abuser may even take away the victim’s money, credit cards or deny them access to their joint bank accounts.
In many cases, the victims have tried to manoeuvre out of the domestic household with their children, but it has rarely turned out to be in their favour. The offender usually blocks out any source of income for the family so that their only option is to return back home due to their financial instability.
Domestic violence in any form is a grievous assault.The law stands to provide safety to the victims of domestic violence. On the other hand, there have been instances of false accusations primarily in case of internal rivalry or hatred against the individual or their family members. This destroys the whole purpose of law and people manage to take undue advantage of their rights.
According to Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), 10 percent of accusations related to domestic violence, child abuse or sexual assault are false.
FAKE CLAIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
There are two sides to every coin. In this case, the other side brings wrongly accused domestic violence claims to our notice. If an Emergency Protective Order is based on false allegations, it can have a severe impact in cases of separation, divorce and/or child custody proceedings.
There are several reasons why false allegations are made. The primary reason is to gain an advantage in the divorce or to attain the complete physical and legal custody of the child during the proceedings. If one is convicted of family assault, the judge is unlikely to give the primary or even the joint custody of the child to the convicted. If the children are legally prevented from staying with one parent, then the other parent potentially has an undue advantage within the forthcoming custody proceedings. The accuser would be able to claim that the children prefer to stay with him/her all the time and changing the custody to 50/50, or even permitting visits by the other parent, would hinder the children’s established schedules and ought to be prohibited.
CHARGED WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE? HERE’S WHAT TO DO
Texas family violence charges have serious consequences, especially if they are felony charges. If you’re convicted of violent or abusive behaviour towards your partner, there can be extreme criminal penalties and long term negative consequences. The primary and most vital thing to do is to hire a defense criminal attorney.
The domestic abuse lawyer can then assist you in getting protective orders lifted. The lawyer will immediately begin with gathering evidence to fight the allegations and a witness who can provide testimony in the courtroom on your behalf. The lawyer will help you develop the proper legal strategy and ultimately enter the rightful plea.
Getting an EPO lifted or modified is never easy in normal circumstances. Getting any kind of relief during this lockdown requires an exceptional amount of hard work. To make the process easier, it is important to save the information for your attorney if you happen to know anything about the false crime against you. Thus, it is of utmost importance to discuss your accusations with a good criminal defence attorney as soon as possible.