What Legal Options are Available for Domestic Violence Victims?

Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on December 5, 2018

With the recent incident involving former Kansas City Chief Kareem Hunt, the spotlight is once again shining on domestic violence. With more than 10 million men and women in the United States being subjected to domestic violence every year, it’s still a significant problem, especially here in Tennessee.

But what can be done to combat domestic violence? And how can the legal system work for the victims?

Domestic Violence: What You Need to Know

What is domestic violence? In Tennessee, domestic violence falls under the category of assault. Domestic assault is committed if the person has the following relationship with the abuser:

  • A current or former spouse of the abuser
  • Someone who lives with the abuser
  • An intimate partner, such as a girlfriend
  • A relative, either through blood, by adoption, or through marriage
  • An adult or minor child of any of the above individuals

According to a recent survey by the Violence Policy Center, the Volunteer State ranks fourth in the nation for domestic-related homicides. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has stated that there were 77,846 domestic violence cases in the state in 2017. And just one crisis hotline states they get more than 6,000 calls in a year. It is a serious crisis in our state.

Legal Resources Available to Domestic Violence Victims

Tennessee recently enacted two new state laws aimed at protecting domestic violence victims. One law allows judges to order cell phone providers to grant victims control over their number if the account is held by an alleged abuser. The second law allows judges to issue a “no contact order” if the court finds probable cause that an alleged abuser caused a severe injury or had brandished a weapon.

In addition to recent laws, there are other avenues a victim can use to protect themselves from further abuse. One way is to obtain a protective order. A protective order is a document signed by the judge that prevents your abuser from hurting you or else he/she will face serious legal consequences.

You can also obtain temporary rights to child custody and the family home, even if you have to leave both to seek help. Also, a domestic violence charge can be the basis for deciding child custody. The charge could terminate the abuser’s parental rights.

You also have the right to seek justice from your abuser. If your abuser has injured you, you can file a personal injury claim against your abuser for damages, such as paying medical bills, lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering. However, if you are considering filing a claim, it’s best to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to understand the process.

How Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard Can Help

At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, we take domestic violence crimes seriously. Our attorneys treat each case with the sensitivity it deserves. We will make sure you and your children are safe from your abuser and assist you with your legal claim.

If you are a domestic violence victim in Nashville, Springfield, or anywhere in the Middle Tennessee area, now is the time to act. Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard immediately for a free consultation. Remember, you are not alone in this.

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