Domestic assault occurs when one member of a household intentionally injures another family member physically. Although domestic assault and assault two are related and similar, the two have certain distinctions. For instance, the two crimes typically involve violence after a disagreement and more.
A physical injury must exist to prove assault cases but it doesn’t have to exist in domestic assault cases– fear of physical injury is sufficient to sustain a domestic violence case.
If you’re a victim of domestic violence (assault) you should contact an experienced domestic assault lawyer in Toronto to help you get the justice you deserve. But what are the different stages of domestic violence?
What is Domestic Assault?
Domestic assault can be committed through physical violence, emotional and financial abuse, sexual abuse, and more. The common acts of domestic assault can include:
- Sleep and food denial;
- Physical battery;
- Threatening family members with dangerous weapons;
- Damaging property when angered;
- Preventing someone to seek medication or calling the police;
- Harming the children;
- Being controlling;
- Humiliating a member of the household;
- Withholding affection from a spouse, and more.
Distinctions between Domestic Assault and Other Types of Assault
You can be charged with two crimes for being violent in a domestic environment– assault and domestic assault. Arguments causing violent acts that injure another person physically can attract charges for disorderly conduct, which is considered an assault or domestic assault. The common distinctions between domestic violence and assault are:
- Domestic assaults are treated more seriously than assault crimes in most jurisdictions. However, some states do not differentiate the two (assault and domestic violence) the degree of an assault is what matters.
- People commit domestic assaults in a home setting while other types of assaults are anywhere.
- In domestic violence cases, a court can rehabilitate a perpetrator to avoid further incidences. In contrast, a court can’t rehabilitate perpetrators of other forms of assault although the defendant can be helped to manage their anger.
- Unlike in domestic violence assaults, a physical injury must exist in assaults committed away from home.
- Most domestic assaults are a misdemeanor or minor crimes in most states, unlike other types of violence, which are considered serious criminal offenses. However, third-degree assaults are also misdemeanors while second and first-degree assaults are felonies in most states.
- Penalties or punishments for domestic violence have short-term consequences compared to other assaults that typically attract longer sentences. However, domestic assaults with protective orders can have longer jail sentences (a maximum of two years).
- Victims of ordinary assaults must have suffered a physical injury to sustain a claim while sustaining physical injuries is not a requirement in domestic assaults. Also, the severity of injuries must be verified by the court in ordinary assaults, unlike domestic violence cases.
A domestic violence charge does not require a physical injury. There could just be the fear of physical injury. For that reason, proof of an injury is not a defense for domestic violence cases.
It is important to work with a skilled attorney who has experience in a variety of cases and can help determine the proper defense needed for their client’s charge.
The Cycle of Domestic Violence
Research shows that domestic violence follows a certain pattern or cycle. In other words, most home-based assaults can ongoing if the perpetrator doesn’t change their abusive behaviors. Ongoing domestic assaults undergo the following cycle, and in the listed order:
1: Tension phase; to
2: Incident phase; to
3: Reconciliation phase; to
4: State of calmness.
The cycle is likely to start all over again after the fourth phase (state of calmness). I’m sure you’re familiar with this cycle if you’re a victim of domestic assault.
Each phase is unique and you may not even recognize that it traps you in a never-ending cycle. Understanding the cycle is the step toward escaping abuse by seeking help.
1. Tension Phase
Physical violence comes after a period of tension and anxiety where the victim is hyper-alert to perpetrators. Different reasons, such as employment troubles, family issues, sickness, fatigue, or others trigger violence.
It’s important to support those who have a history of domestic violence when they’re experiencing challenges.
2. Abuse Phase
Domestic violence occurs during the abuse phase– and that’s where threats or any action meant to instill fear counts as abuse – remember physical violence doesn’t have to exist.
The victim of domestic violence might fear for their safety or the safety of another member of their household– it could be a child, sibling, parent, worker, or other. Abusers use domestic violence to gain power by controlling their victims. Unfortunately, such acts never excuse their behaviors.
3. Reconciliation Phase
This is where perpetrators of domestic violence make amends for their actions. Abusers make amends by apologizing or gifting their victims.
4. State of Calmness Phase
This is where most victims believe that their abusers have reformed due to their reconciliatory acts and being remorseful. However, you should always be alert because a minor issue can trigger their violent ways.