What Are Some Rules of Thumb Regarding a Domestic Violence Protection Order
You should file for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) if your spouse has caused you physical harm and you are afraid that he is going to do it again. You should not file for a DVPO for any other reason. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, you should defend yourself.
What Is Domestic Violence"Domestic violence" means different things to different people. The definition used by many in the world of counseling and psychology includes any act motivated by the perpetrator's need for control over the victim. Some common examples:
- He does not permit me access to the bank account. Instead, he gives me a meager allowance;
- He does not let me see my friends
- He takes my phone
- He denigrates my family and friends
- He yells at me and calls me names
- He keeps accusing me of having an affair.
However, none of these examples fit the legal definition. The legal definition of domestic violence in Washington State centers on physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, or fear of infliction of the same. While these other behaviors may point towards either the potential for physical harm or that the fear expressed by the victim is reasonable, they do not fit the legal definition of domestic violence.
When Should I Allege Domestic ViolenceThe time to allege domestic violence is immediately. Use it or lose it. If you do not assert domestic violence right away, you will lose credibility. If you are really fearful of the guy, why would you wait until part-way through the litigation to seek protection?
Who Commits Domestic ViolenceMy experience is that domestic violence perpetrators are generally male, but not always. Unfortunately, male victims will have a more difficult time proving their case. Domestic violence also transcends race and class. I have addressed domestic violence committed by millionaires and paupers alike.
What Are the Signs of False Allegations of Domestic ViolenceIn my experience, the bulk of domestic violence allegations are true. However, some are false. To determine whether the allegations are true or false, I look at motive, evidence, timing, and definition.
MOTIVE. People make false allegations of domestic violence for all kinds of reasons. A common one in Seattle is immigration issues. She came here on a marriage visa. Therefore, if she gets divorced, she will lose her legal status. However, there is a loophole for victims of domestic violence (Be careful, the loophole doesn't always work). Another common motive is perceived advantage in the custody dispute. If you can slap a DVPO on him, you will make it more difficult for him to see the kids, especially if the DVPO includes the kids.
EVIDENCE. A credible allegation of domestic violence almost certainly includes third-party evidence. Hospital and police records are best. Photographs and witness statements are also helpful.
TIMING. Did she wait for two years to bring the allegation or did she bring it within a few weeks of the most recent incident?
What Are the Consequences of a Domestic Violence Protection OrderOn the positive side, most perpetrators will abide the DVPO, so the DVPO will keep the parties separate and help them begin to lead separate lives.
On the negative side for the perpetrator, it is a stigmatic injury. It is humiliating, especially if you think it is unnecessary or, worse, based on false testimony. It will also slow down your international travel (Your name will be entered into a database to which border agents have access). Finally, if you are applying for a high-level job or a security clearance, it may trip you up.