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Legal protections are available to victims of domestic violence

As a law firm with a comprehensive family law practice, we have helped clients navigate domestic violence allegations on both sides. We have helped victims of domestic violence, as well as those wrongfully accused of it, perhaps arising in the context of a contested divorce.

In Virginia, state law defines five primary categories of behaviors that may rise to the level of domestic violence: physical violence, emotional abuse, sexual assault, economic control and neglect. Our lawyers rely on that codified authority when offering legal advice.

Our knowledge in this area of law also extends to the forms of assistance that are available to victims of domestic violence. One source of support is the Violence Against Women Act, a federal law passed in 1994 to provide financial support and fund services for survivors.

Another federal law, the Victims of Crime Act passed in 1984, created a fund for survivors. It is sustained through penalties paid by criminal offenders, rather than tax dollars. In 2012, $2.795 billion was paid into the fund. Congress periodically distributes those funds to the states. In 2015, Virginia’s Department of Criminal Justice Services received $50 million. A number of organizations throughout the state also received funding.

Our law firm has handled many types of domestic abuse cases. We have helped protect victims of spousal and child abuse. We have also protected the reputations of clients wrongfully accused of abuse by a contentious spouse. We know the difference between providing legal protection to a victim of domestic violence and subjecting a wrongfully accused person to criminal and legal consequences.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Richmond-area groups that help survivors of assault fear they may lose federal funds,” Katie Demeria, March 26, 2017

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