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One of the most difficult topics within the arena of family law is domestic violence. Not only are the criminal aspects of these case difficult to handle in some situations, but determining what options exist when violence is impacting families might be unclear. Under Arizona law, victims of domestic violence have the ability to seek an order of protection, which can provide a sense of security.

The consequences of domestic violence extend beyond criminal charges, since it can also play a role in divorce and child custody cases. When there are claims of abuse in divorce proceedings, the accused spouse may not be granted custody. At the same time, however, unfounded claims of violence can unfairly disadvantage a person during divorce negotiations.

Many people may expect that domestic violence is a factor in a number of relationships in the Phoenix area, but a recent survey has results that could still prove to be surprising. According to the World Health Organization, 35 percent of women worldwide have been the victim of violence. Of those individuals, 80 percent of instances — involving abuse, rape and other acts of violence — occurred within the woman’s home.

Although these statistics don’t directly relate to Arizona, it shows the true reach of violence in relationships. In addition to the physical consequences of domestic abuse, repeated violence is often correlated with other health problems, including mental illness.

Whenever a family is impacted by domestic violence, it’s important to take action. Understanding that that there may be differing accounts may be provided by parties involved in the abuse, steps should be taken to make sure the case is resolved effectively and fairly.

Source: Arizona Public Radio, “WHO Finds Violence Against Women Is ‘Shockingly’ Common,” Michaeleen Doucliff, June 20, 2013

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