How to Medically and Legally Deal With Domestic Violence

Updated on July 14, 2020

How to Deal With Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a historical vice that has plagued many families across the globe. The current estimates put the number of affected homes in the USA alone at 10 million. While a lot is being done by law enforcement agencies and lawmakers to mitigate the spread and severity of this vice, there’s a lot that doctors, together with attorneys, can do to help.

Doctors and attorneys working together? How?

Medical records are usually used as evidence during the conviction of a suspected abuser.

And at the end of the day, a proper conviction lies not only in the doctors writing their records well and the attorneys presenting a good case, but also your understanding of how well to medically and legally approach this matter. So, read on and find out how.

What is identified as Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is broadly defined as any attempt by another party in an intimate, family, or household relationship to bring down, physically harm, or assault his or her partner. As such, domestic violence can affect men, women, boys, girls, and even roommates alike.

In the context of intimate relationships, domestic violence is usually called dating violence, intimate partner violence, spousal abuse, domestic abuse, or intimate partner abuse.

The harm doesn’t necessarily have to be physical. Domestic violence may be manifested in the form of verbal abuse (also known as mental, emotional, or psychological abuse), spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, and economic/financial abuse.

What are the Medical Effects of Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can cause a host of medical issues. Generally, the victim may exhibit signs of depression, anxiety, alcoholism, and drug abuse. This also affects their insurance policies where getting property, health, disability, and life insurance becomes an uphill task.

Domestic violence on pregnant women has also been associated with a host of pregnancy complications. In general, pregnant women tend to suffer from low birth weight and preterm deliveries of their babies, if they are in an abusive relationship.

These effects also stretch to housing, where an estimated 38% of women become homeless after reporting domestic violence.

How are Medical Practitioners Trained to Diagnose Domestic Violence?

Diagnosing domestic violence is not an easy task for most medical practitioners. The main hurdle is getting the victims to open up about the abuse and provide a comprehensive report on their injuries and complications, which can be used in a lawsuit.

For the most part, a victim of domestic violence can perform a short self-diagnosis. For instance, you can assess whether you feel excessively controlled around your partner (meaning he/she demeans you by name-calling, critical remarks, or insult, or keeps excessive track of you all day long).

Physical abuse, on the other hand, offers more discernible evidence to not only the victim but also the doctor and attorney. Stress-related symptoms such as skin rashes, headaches, sleep problems, and stomach upsets can also be tell-tale signs of domestic violence.

What Are The Legal Options?

With this evidence, most work goes to the legal team or attorneys. Thankfully, a lot of legislation has been passed to ensure domestic violence offenders are well put away.

For instance, The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), federal anti-cyber-stalking law, and anti-stalking law provide hefty fines and jail terms for abusers. On average, the fines can be in the tune of $200,000, with most cases resulting in a conviction.

On the other hand, restraining orders also help control contact between the abuser and his/her victim. 

The law also provides attorneys with the option of placing a violation of protection order suit, to protect the victim against any violation of the restraining orders by the offender.

Wrapping up

A lot of legislation and medical aid has been put in place to help victims of domestic violence. What you need to do is take the bold step of visiting a medical facility to have your health checked up and contacting an attorney who’ll help you set up the legal processes designed to protect you and your loved ones.

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