Domestic Violence is a Crime
Table of Contents
Facts about Domestic Violence
- Acts of violence occur every 18 seconds in this country. A woman is abused every 9-15 seconds.
- Six million women are beaten each year by their husbands and boyfriends – 4,000 are murdered.
- 30% of all murders in this country are committed within the family and 13% are committed by spouses.
- Children are present during 80% of the assaults against their mothers and 3 million children witness domestic violence each year.
- Many cases of domestic violence are not reported because of feelings of helplessness, fear and shame.
- Domestic Violence transcends racial, age and socioeconomic boundaries. Its victims are educated, uneducated, poor, middle class, and wealthy. They are Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American and are of every ethnic origin.
- Children who witness violence in the home learn that violence is the answer and these children are 1000 times more likely to abuse as adults.
What is Domestic Violence?
The Georgia code defines domestic violence as any felony, battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint and criminal trespass between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children and persons living or formerly living in the same household.
Types of Abuse
Physical Abuse can include slapping, pushing, punching, hitting, kicking, grabbing, choking, biting, hair pulling or the use or threat to use weapons to hurt you. Physical abuse can occur and leave no visible injuries.
Psychological Abuse can include threatening you, controlling the money, controlling how you spend your time with your friends, attempts to make you feel inferior and threats to harm or take away your children.
Sexual Abuse is any forced sexual contact, whether by physical force or threats or coercion.
What can you do?
Call the police. Just because you were or are married or living with someone does not give them the right to threaten or abuse you.
Seek medical attention. Go to the emergency room, your doctor or the hospital for treatment, particularly if you have been choked. You could have injuries that you are not aware of.
Leave, if you can. There are Battered Women’s shelters available.
Have a safety plan. Have a bag packed for you and your children with important documents, a set of keys, money, your checkbook and a change of clothes.
How will we help you?
We can provide to you information regarding the following:
- Arrest and prosecution procedures
- Counseling Options
- Temporary Protection Orders (TPO)
- Battered Women’s Shelters
What is a Protective Order?
A Protective Order is an order issued by a Judge to help protect you from the person who is abusing or harassing you. Generally, the order states that the person is prohibited from having contact with you. Such an order is commonly referred to as a Temporary Protection Order, or TPO.
How do I obtain a TPO?
- It must be filed in the county where the abuser lives. In Cobb County, go to the Superior Court Clerk, Fifth Floor Superior Court Building to obtain a TPO.
- There must have been a recent act of physical abuse.
- You, as the victim, must complete the application for the TPO.
- If the court grants the TPO, the batterer will be served with the order. Within 10 days, both of you will be required to return to court to determine if the order should be extended.
- If the batterer violates the provisions of the order, he can be held in contempt of court and may be arrested. The TPO may become invalid if you make contact with the batterer.
What is the Victim’s Bill of Rights?
As the victim of a crime, the law grants you certain rights and responsibilities. You have the right to be notified of each stage in the judicial process, from arrest bond to arraignment to plea negotiations. You have the right to voice your opinion as to bonds and plea offers. Please refer to O.C.G.A. Section 17-17-1, et seq. If you have questions, please call the Solicitor’s Office at (770) 528-8500.
From the Solicitor General
As your Solicitor General, I am responsible for the prosecution of all misdemeanor cases in the State Court of Cobb County. Protecting you and your family from further acts of violence is one of my primary responsibilities.
Our goal is to stop the violence, not break up families. To that end, we have developed a program specifically for domestic violence cases. This program allows the first time offender (and those who have been arrested for the first time) to attend an anger and violence counseling program as an alternative to prosecution. Oftentimes, alcohol and/or drug counseling is required as well.
I have assigned Chris Lanning and Steven Ellis as the prosecutors in Domestic Violence Court. Mr. Lanning is the lead prosecutor and Mr. Ellis serves as his backup.
Haley Plunkett and Melissa Collar, investigators in this office, are also assigned to this program. Part of their responsibilities include monitoring these cases to ensure the safety of the victim.
Additionally, this office has a Victim Witness Program to assist the victims of crime. A victim advocate is assigned to every case of domestic violence. The advocate assigned to your case will inform you of your rights, the stages in the judicial process, avenues of compensation, and any additional assistance you may need.
Please don’t hesitate to call on us to assist you.