Most people refuse to admit that Domestic Violence exists in their own homes. Yet, Domestic Violence crosses all economic and social lines. To the outside world, a battered person or batterer’s home life may seem peaceful, even ideal. Yet when people refuse to recognize the danger signs, Domestic Violence can mushroom into potentially deadly consequences.
Domestic Violence takes many forms: from emotional/verbal abuse, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and rape. Since the national headlines were focused on Domestic Violence as a result of the O.J. Simpson trial, such abuse is no longer just one person’s “dirty little secret” but instead has become everyone’s problem. This series will explore what can be done and how the system works through exploring the criminal process (Penal Code), restraining orders (Domestic Violence Prevention Act), affecting divorce/child custody (Family Code), and what resources are available for shelters, counseling, and assistance.
When emotional and verbal abuse, isolation, threats and intimidation escalate help is available. Once begun, the exploration of what Domestic Violence really is, how it destroys families, and how it impacts each person individually and as a society, can be life – changing all for the better. The first step is the hardest: checking that website, picking up that phone, talking to someone in confidence, or even admitting that something is truly wrong.
First and foremost, everyone needs to become aware of the dangers of Domestic Violence. Through education and therefore understanding, violence and threats of violence can no longer be minimized or tolerated. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached either by the internet at (www.ndvh.org) or (800) 799-7233, (800) 799-SAFE, or (800) 787-3224. The California Department of Health Services/Family Violence Referral Directory (www.dhs.ca.gov/EPIC/html/dv_directory.htm) provides informational lists of women’s shelter’s, domestic violence programs, batterer’s intervention programs, victim/witness programs, counseling services and crisis hotlines which are county-specific. Remember that your home computer stores a record of which internet sites you visit, so use your public library or a friend’s computer to start. Don’t Wait. If Domestic Violence is pervasive in your home or that of a loved one, take advantage of the resources available NOW.
Delilah Knox Rios, Attorney at Law has practiced law for over 23 years with an emphasis in Family Law, Divorce, Child Support, Spousal Support, Complex Community Property, Paternity, Collaborative Family Law, Mediation, Real Property, Small Business Contracts, Wills and Trusts providing these services to clients in all counties of Southern California. She is a Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California and Board of Legal Specialization.