Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t make a federal case out of it.” It’s meant to imply a substantial Domestic Violence Charges in Charlotte NCoverreaction or hyperbolic assessment of a problem.  In the south, we might say, “Don’t make such a fuss.”  But is it really fair regarding “DV” charges in Charlotte?  Is domestic violence a federal offense?

Should it be?

Federal Court and federal criminal charges are serious stuff.  People can serve long, long prison sentences if indicted and found guilty of violations of serious federal, criminal laws.

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Red Flag Laws in NCAccording to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there are approximately 20,000 daily calls to Domestic Violence (DV) hotlines.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports “gun availability” results in a substantially higher incidence of domestic homicides.

In intimate partner relationships, the abusive partner’s access to a gun increases the chances of murder on women (femicide), making it anywhere to 5x – 8x more likely.  When guns are involved, statistics indicate abusers inflict the most damaging and severe forms of domestic abuse.

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Div12-200x200At first blush, the North Carolina law requiring a one-year separation period before a court can grant divorce has some saving qualities. One might view the law as creating the space and time for couples to reconsider divorce, which is especially important when children are involved. However, for certain individuals, the one-year waiting period is quite a burden.

One-Year Waiting Period May be Incompatible for Certain Marriages

A 33-year-old woman living in North Carolina separated from her husband and was able to provide solid evidence to a court to warrant a restraining order. Included in her evidence were photos of injuries she claims she sustained from the abuse of her husband. Even with a documented history of abuse and a restraining order, the woman must wait one year before seeking a divorce. During the interim, she had to pay her  husband’s health insurance. She also had to endure the psychological distress of knowing that the person who allegedly abused her was legally recognized as her husband. Possible abuse victims like this woman fear for their safety when the state requires prolonging a legal relationship, which brings them pain and suffering. The issue with the one-year waiting period is not limited to psychological pain. Like the woman’s payment of her estranged spouse’s health insurance, sustained legal recognition of the marriage carries certain obligations and requirements abuse victims should not have to maintain. In one respect, the obligation may prove unethical and dangerous.

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DomesticViol2-200x200In North Carolina, a domestic violence protective order (DPVO) is a civil relief that is filed in district court. It permits the court to order an alleged abuser to do or refrain from doing certain acts as it relates to the plaintiff. Obtaining a DPVO requires the plaintiff to show that domestic abuse is being committed. In addition, the plaintiff must show a present or past personal relationship between themselves and the alleged abuser (among other requirements). The process for obtaining a DVPO has been streamlined for average citizens to take advantage of it to protect themselves.

How to Obtain a DVPO

A plaintiff must go to their district court to file DVPO forms. If the plaintiff requires filing outside of business hours, they may go to a magistrate. If the plaintiff requires an emergency filing, then the DVPO may advance as an ex parte filing. The ex parte filing will apply for a temporary order, and will not require the presence of the alleged abuser when the temporary order is issued. The DVPO also provides for temporary custody by the plaintiff if there are children involved. In addition, the alleged abuser must surrender all firearms. There are no fees associated with filing a DVPO in North Carolina. After filing for the DVPO, the plaintiff must take the forms to the sheriff’s department. In turn, the sheriff’s department will serve the defendant with the complaint and a summons to appear in court. Thereafter, a hearing is scheduled on the merits of the case where the plaintiff must show evidence that the alleged abusive acts were actually committed.

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DomesticViol-200x200“Britny’s Law” went into effect on December 1, 2017, enhancing the penalties for domestic violence in North Carolina, according to an article by WRAL.

Three years ago, Britny Puryear was stuck in a vicious relationship. At that time, Britny lived with her boyfriend in Fuqua-Varina, North Carolina. Over the course of four years, their relationship became increasingly abusive. The relationship ended after a violent argument in 2014, when the boyfriend shot and killed Britny in their home.

The boyfriend was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. He pleaded guilty in court and received a 32-year jail term. The boyfriend is currently serving his sentence.

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Depressed-183x200A crowd gathered in Graham, North Carolina, on to remember 77 victims who died as a result of domestic violence in the state in the past year, according to an article by The Times-News.

A joint effort organized by the Family Justice Center and Family Abuse Services, attendees assembled in front of the Alamance County War Memorial. With a crowd bearing candles to the light the night, the name of every one of the 77 domestic violence victims rang out into the darkness.

Part of the motivation for organizing this event centers on raising awareness of the growing domestic violence epidemic across Alamance County.

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DomeViol2-200x200Advocates against domestic violence organized a march in Charlotte on September 28th, according to an article by FOX 46 Charlotte.

Featuring domestic violence victims, members of the community and law enforcement officials in their ranks, the advocates marched along North Tryon Street. They displayed a number of signs with messages such as “verbal abuse is domestic abuse” and “men, step up and prevent dv.”

A domestic violence counselor for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) highlighted the importance of establishing a support network for victims. The counselor also underlined the CMPD dedication to domestic violence issues, with six detectives and four counselors available to victims. The counselor also highlighted the partnership between the CMPD and the Charlotte branch of the Domestic Violence Advocacy Council.

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DomesticViolVictim-200x200Appearing before a judge in court, not to mention cases that involve a jury, can be intimidating. For victims who have been sexually assaulted, emotionally tormented, or physically beaten, facing the perpetrator in court can be a truly traumatic event. Luckily, an attorney will help walk you through this process and ensure that you are ready when the time comes to face your violent partner, or will help your child feel secure, brave, and truthful. Additionally, there are new options emerging in North Carolina to help witnesses and victims in court, such as the use of courthouse therapy dogs.

Courthouse Dog, Teghan, to be First Therapy Dog Used in North Carolina Court

While the concept is still catching on in North Carolina, many other states have adopted the use of courthouse dogs as sources of therapy during high-stress cases for people exposed to domestic violence, and other victims. Recently, Johnston County became the first to allow the use of a courthouse dog, according to WRAL News. Teghan, a yellow lab, will help ease the pain, fear, and anxiety that many people feel in Johnston County. Local businesses have paid for veterinary costs, the dog’s training, and other expenses all in an effort to level the playing field for victims in court.

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DomesticViolVictim2-200x200If you have been trapped in an abusive relationship and do not know why you have been unable to leave, or family members and friends do not understand why you are still in the relationship, there is a very clear cut answer. It is not just you. There is nothing wrong with you or abnormal with your behavior, because, in fact, there is chemical bond that makes it incredibly difficult to sever even the most abusive, violent relationships. This bond is called trauma bonding, and while we strongly encourage you to call an attorney and law enforcement for help today, it is important that you know why you may have been struggling to break free for so long.

We all Have Bonds, but Those Who Experience Trauma Have Even More Intense Bonds With Their Partners

Humans are social animals, which means that we form strong bonds with one another. These emotional attachments help us see from another’s point of view, let us forgive one another after an argument or fight, provide high levels of care for others, and, overall, make society as we know it possible. Bonds also make it exceedingly difficult when we lose a loved one, whether it is due to death, divorce, or separation. When trauma is involved, the strength of that bond is drastically increased. A trauma bond is the “misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person,” according to the Abuse and Relationships Organization. When two people share a traumatic experience together, such as surviving a disastrous mountaineering trip or another type of accident, a special, traumatic, bond is formed. A traumatic bond is also formed when two people engage in extreme sports or activities, or when the relationship is physically, emotionally, or psychologically abusive. Moreover, if a person experienced traumatic incidents earlier in their life, they are even more prone to traumatic bonding with their abusive partner due to cognitive learning.

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DomesticViol-200x200North Carolina is currently considering adopting a new law requiring domestic violence offenders to wear ankle GPS bracelets to track their whereabouts. The House Bill, H.B. 46, is also referred to as Allison’s law because it could, if made into a law, save lives such as Allison Holt, who was killed by her estranged husband back in 2009 two days after she filed a restraining order against him. A staggering 60 percent of violence-caused injuries were inflicted on family members, loved ones, or acquaintances, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and reported by Mother Jones. And, 60 percent of those injuries happened at home. Additionally, 79 percent of murders, when the victim-murderer relationship was known, were incidents where the victim was a loved one, friend, or acquaintance of the murderer. By keeping tabs on the violent person, lawmakers hope to curb the deaths and injuries of thousands of North Carolina victims each year.

About the Ankle Bracelet and the Program

The bill calls for the offenders to wear the GPS device at all times (24 hours a day). If they are found outside of their approved zone, they will be arrested immediately. This is all to provide safety for their potential victims. Last year in North Carolina there were 64 domestic violence homicides, according to North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and reported by WNCN News. The lawmakers of the bill are currently undecided and are seeking feedback from a future Department of Public Safety pilot program on the following:

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