According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, LGBT+ persons are more likely to experience rape, physical violence, or stalking than heterosexual persons.
43.8% of lesbians and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime, as opposed to 35% of heterosexual women.
26% of gay men and 37.3% of bisexual men have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, compared to 29% of heterosexual men.
Despite that, the lack of apparent filings appears to indicate LGBT+ persons are less likely to seek protection or assistance, even when those protections and services are available to them.
Some victims of domestic violence fear something more than their abuser. They dread public scorn, ridicule, and bias – Bill Powers, Charlotte Domestic Violence Lawyer
Fear of Bias
In addition to the stress and anxieties of experiencing domestic violence, the pressure of being outed or having one’s sexual orientation or gender identity revealed can cause survivors not to seek assistance for fear of being labeled as a member of the LGBT+ community.
According to a 2013 study of male same-sex couples from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, only 26% of men called the police for assistance after experiencing near-lethal violence.
Additionally, in 2012, less than 5% of LGBT+ domestic violence survivors sought protective orders.
In North Carolina, same-sex couples have some protections when a relationship turns abusive or violent.
The NC Domestic Violence laws authorize a victim to seek a domestic violence protective order (DVPO), which protects domestic violence survivors from unwanted contact and many other protections such as removing the abuser from a shared home, prohibitions against possessing firearms, and temporary custody of minor children.
Specific categories of people can apply for a DVPO in North Carolina under Chapter 50B-1(b) of the North Carolina General Statutes:
- Current or former spouses
- Persons of the opposite sex who live together or have lived together
- Persons related to one another as parents and children
- Persons who have a child in common
- Current or former household members
- Persons of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship or have been in a dating relationship. For purposes of this statute, a dating relationship is one wherein the parties are romantically involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.
Unfortunately, LGBT+ persons who are or were in a dating relationship are not specifically enumerated within Chapter 50B. Under a strict reading of the statute, individuals may not be able to apply for a DVPO.
However, change may be on the horizon.
A 2019 case involving a same-sex couple in Wake County has been appealed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals that may remove these exclusions for dating same-sex couples, giving all people Equal Protection under the law, as well as Due Process rights.
There are internal inconsistencies in the statute, causing potential problems for LGBT+ couples who are not legally wed.
LGBT+ persons who are or were married may apply for a DVPO since the law does not require spouses to be of the opposite sex.
What should I do if I’m a victim of Domestic Violence?
Until the case is resolved, LGBT persons who are survivors of domestic violence should seek medical attention for any injuries inflicted during the abuse and catalog those injuries.
Any other proof of abuse or violence, physical or otherwise, should likewise be kept.
While DVPO’s may not be available to all LGBT persons in abusive or violent relationships, other avenues exist to end contact with the other person, such as having criminal charges brought against the other person.
North Carolina also provides for other forms of Restraining Orders and other “Civil No-Contact Orders,” such as the protections set forth within N.C.G.S. 50C.
If the survivor of domestic violence should seek a DVPO or other legal action against an abuser, they should likewise seek an experienced attorney to assist them in that process.
Charlotte Domestic Violence Lawyers
At Powers Law Firm PA we have years of experience handling North Carolina domestic violence cases and matters concerning DVPOs.
We believe in assisting all persons with their legal issues, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Domestic violence is a difficult and serious matter, often taking a physical and emotional toll.
We encourage victims of Domestic Violence to stand up to their abuser, consider hiring a knowledgeable domestic violence attorney in Charlotte who can help you get a DVPO or consider other options to keep you safe.
With the growing acceptance and prevalence of same-sex couples, it is becoming clear that domestic violence protections will in all likelihood be extended to LGBT +individuals to the same nature and extent as heterosexual counterparts.Learn More
We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t make a federal case out of it.” It’s meant to imply a substantial overreaction 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.
Given the possible consequences of DV, is it appropriate to “federalize” what has for decades been handled in state court?
Criminal charges like an assault on a female, communicating threats, injury to personal property, and felony assault by strangulation are traditionally considered to be violations of the NC criminal laws.
Should that be it?
Is it an overreaction to criminally prosecute someone in both state and federal court? Does that violate the Constitution or the precept of Double Jeopardy?
Is there a difference/more serious when the relationship involves a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or other domestic relationship?
If so, when should it be a federal offense?
Domestic Violence in Charlotte already is somewhat complicated, given the possibility of a both criminal charges and a related DVPO (restraining order) based the same allegations. That’s true whether you’re a victim or the alleged offender. It helps to receive sound legal advice irrespective of where you stand in the courtroom – Bill Powers, Charlotte Lawyer
Recent media accounts suggest Domestic Violence in Charlotte may result in the feds taking a look. While most criminal charges in Charlotte will remain within the state court system, that’s true for state felony or misdemeanor charges, there are instances where the United Government might involve itself, seeking an indictment.
At least in Charlotte, the United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, Andrew Murray, seems interested in pursuing federal criminal charges in certain circumstances.
Those seem likely to be related to weapons offenses, cyberstalking, and instances of gross misconduct.
One would be remiss in failing to note that US Attorney Murray is the former elected District Attorney for the 26th Judicial District state court system (prosecutor for crimes in Charlotte-Mecklenburg) and as such, has intimate knowledge of both the strengths and weaknesses of the state court criminal justice system.
Domestic Violence Charges in North Carolina
The term “domestic violence” does not specifically refer to a certain type of charge as much as it is intended to cover some very common criminal charges that also involve a special relationship between the alleged victim and the accused.
Criminal defense lawyers sometimes view DV charges a bit differently from divorce lawyers. They tend to focus on the elements of offenses like assault, assault and battery, etc. The distinguishing factor is criminal charge involves a ‘domestic relationship’ – Bill Powers
There are special rules about bond/bail involving DV charges in North Carolina.
The DA’s Office in Charlotte has a special team of experienced prosecutors who focus on DV charges.
Related Legal Issues Involving Domestic Violence / Federal Offense
- Domestic Violence
- Domestic Violence Protective Orders in North Carolina
- Restraining Order
- Complaint for Domestic Violence Protective Orders – Filing and Pleadings
- DVPO Violation
Charlotte Divorce Lawyers – Domestic Violence – Bill Powers
Our law firm helps people on both sides of the courtroom. That means we represent both victims of domestic violence and those who may have been accused of acts of domestic violence.
Obviously, we don’t do that at the same time.
Legal representation is limited to one party in a dispute.
That’s one reason we conduct a conflict check before going into great detail into a case.
Our law firm is dedicated to helping people understand what has become, we believe, an extraordinarily complicated area of law. Understanding both sides to a dispute, and the procedural aspects of representation irrespective of the litigant, is an important aspect of any case – Bill Powers, Divorce Lawyer in Charlotte
We think it’s a good idea to take a holistic approach to analyze a case. Allegations of DV are as wide and varied as the parties and their individual relationships.Learn More
According 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.
“Abusers with guns” were substantially more likely of using a gun in the worst-case-scenario abuse incidents, resulting in femicide. At the same time, a victim’s access to a firearm may also tend to reduce the incidence of death, if only slightly. See “Risk Factors for Femicide” by the NIH.
Similarly, the relationship between mental health issues and criminality (history of criminal charges) is remarkable. There is a vast body of scientific literature documenting the very real and very substantial correlation between criminal behavior and mental illness.
- 283,000 prisoners in US jails and prisons were “mentally ill” (per a 1998 study)
- Surveys among prisoners indicate self-reporting of a diagnosed mental health issue or time in a psychiatric facility in 16% of state prisoners, 16% of jail inmates, and 7% of federal prisoners
- The incidence of mental illness is nearly 3x more likely than the general inmate population
At the same time, disorders involving the use of controlled substances are far more likely to result in criminal charges. Patients with drug or alcohol issues have a higher number of arrests over their lifetime than those diagnosed with personality disorders, affective disorders, and schizophrenia.
Indeed, in instances where substance abuse disorders and personality disorders are the primary diagnoses, those patients are 240% more likely to commit violent crimes than patients diagnosed with mental health issues without attendant substance abuse problems.
What is a Red Flag Law?
“Raising a Red Flag” has traditionally been a visible, literal warning-sign. Red flags may indicate danger, immediate peril, or live fire exercises in the military.
As it relates to family law and domestic violence, some states allow petitioners to for file for a Court Order or TRO (which stands for Temporary Restraining Order). They may also be referred to as an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO).
North Carolina authorizes both No Contact Orders (Chapter 50C) and Domestic Violence Protection Orders under Chapter 50B. Domestic lawyers in Charlotte commonly refer to DVPO’s by their shorthand statutory reference: “50B Orders.”
Strictly speaking, NC has not formally adopted Red Flag Laws. Yet, there are protections afforded under the law to remove weapons in certain circumstances.
In the event an Order is issued, the Red Flag Laws generally prohibit the possession and purchase of guns and possibly ammunition.
Recently, Red Flag Laws, which are a type of gun control regulation, have been enacted nationwide with increasing frequency.
Seizures of weapons and gun laws tend to be highly controversial. Progressive-minded advocates for gun control are fans. Proponents of the 2nd Amendment despise them.
Clearly, there is not an absence of opinions on the topic.
The stated purpose of red flag legislation is to allow family members, friends, (even roommates in some instances), and law enforcement, to institute legal proceedings, in the form of lawsuits, complaints, and restraining orders, to remove weapons, by force if necessary.
While the laws vary from state-to-state, proof and testimony are often required, indicating a serious risk of harm.
As to standards of proof, the legal standard in North Carolina for a 50B Order is “by the greater weight of the evidence.” One would assume, as is the case with many civil lawsuits, that same standard would apply.
The serious risk imposed may involve potential “self-harm” (suicide) as well as physical harm and serious bodily injury to others.
North Carolina Gun Laws
NC gun laws, under the Pre-emption Sections of the general statutes, prohibit a firearms registry of any form by a government entity. There are also prohibitions against local ordinances and statutes involving the legal carrying of handguns pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 14-415.23.
Put simply the North Carolina General Assembly has in large measure preempted legislation by local agencies, reserving for itself that discretion and power.
While certain municipalities are granted certain exceptions, especially as it pertains to carrying weapons on government property and/or limitations to the concealed carry permit laws, State law supersedes, if not outright precludes, enhanced gun control laws on the local level.
There are other firearm restrictions under Article 54A of the Felony Firearms Act, which preclude gun possession involving:
- Convicted Felons
- Persons Acquitted of Crimes by Reason of Insanity
- Persons Acquitted of Crimes by Determination in Incapacity to Proceed
- Concealed Carry of Firearms without Lawful Permit
Federal Firearm Laws
- 18 U.S.C.S. 922 (g)(4)
- Prevents Possession of Firearms or Ammunition
- Adjudication as “mentally defective” or
- Committed to a mental institution
- 27 CFR 178.11
- Adjudicated a mental defective
- Danger to Others
- Danger to Self
- Lacks Mental Capacity of Manage Own Affairs
- Finding of Insanity in a Criminal Case / Criminal Charges
- Incompetent to Stand Trial
- Commitment to a mental institution
- Adjudicated a mental defective
NC Domestic Violence Protective Orders
A North Carolina DVPO allows the Court Order removal of weapons both during the temporary 10-day Order pursuant to an Ex Parte Complaint and Motion as well as an Order extending the period of restraint following a hearing on the issue.
That means a validly issued 50B Order may authorize local law enforcement to seize weapons from the Defendant.
Criminal charges are not required, although in instances of physical domestic violence a Criminal Summons or Warrant for Arrest may be simultaneously brought by the victim.
Domestic Violence Lawyers – Powers Law Firm PA
If you are a victim of domestic violence, seek medical attention if you’ve been injured or harmed in any way. There are legal options available to protect both you and your children.
You may also call us for legal advice.
If you’ve been wrongfully accused of DV or have criminal charges associated with assault, battery, communicating threats, or injury to personal property, exercise your right to remain silent and retain experienced legal counsel.
Follow any Conditions of Release or Bond. Do not violate any Court Order. Obey and follow the terms and conditions of the 50B, as directed.
Issues of domestic violence are regularly encountered in Charlotte Family Court.
Complaints and Motions for a DVPO (under Chapter 50B) may be subject to a Chapter 50 action for separation, divorce, and child custody.
We believe it’s imperative to seek legal counsel early on. Understanding your rights under the NC family laws makes for sound, smart decisions – Bill Powers, Charlotte Divorce Lawyer
CALL NOW for legal consultation: 877-462-3841
You may also email Bill Powers confidentially at: Bill@CarolinaAttorneys.comLearn More
At 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.
Domestic Abuse Victim Seeks to Amend G.S. 50-6
The woman’s ordeal prompted her to create a petition requesting North Carolina Attorney General and the state General Assembly to amend G.S. 50-6. The petition seeks an amendment of the one-year waiting period for established abuse victims. The woman’s campaign garnered national attention after her story was featured on Now This, a national news outlet. The campaign sought to highlight the counterintuitive nature of the law. For example, it is rather unethical to require a spouse to remain married to an individual who has been convicted of stabbing him or her. Proponents of amending G.S. 50-6 find no defensible argument requiring an abuse victim to continue a marriage that is dangerous to his or her well-being. North Carolina is not the only state with a waiting period requirement. Other states (Illinois, Maryland and Pennsylvania) actually have a two-year waiting period if the divorce is not mutually consensual.
How Divorcing Abuse Victims Can Manage North Carolina’s One-Year Requirement
As an abuse victim seeking a divorce, the best thing you can do is get out of harm’s way. This includes obtaining a domestic violence protective order and ceasing cohabitation. Even though G.S. 50-6 is still the law in North Carolina, there are additional safeguards abuse victims can request to facilitate their safety and tamper the obligations of the legally recognized marriage. This includes requiring that law enforcement remove the defendant from a shared home, ordering the defendant to stay away from the plaintiff’s home, school or place of work, ordering the defendant to pay his or her own insurance, and ordering the defendant to forfeit any firearms or other weapons. Abuse victims must keep well-documented records of all encounters with their abusive spouse. In addition, hire an experienced family law attorney to aggressively fight for your interests during this critical juncture.
Charlotte Divorce and Domestic Abuse Attorneys
At Powers Landreth PLLC we will provide zealous representation to ensure that the law works on your behalf. Even though G.S. 50-6 is still the law in North Carolina, our experienced family law attorneys can advise you and craft legal strategies to facilitate your one-year transition. Contact us now for a consultation.
In 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.
To obtain a DVPO, the plaintiff must show domestic violence from an individual with whom the plaintiff has a personal relationship. In North Carolina, domestic violence is defined as attempts to cause bodily injury; intentionally causing injury; imminent fear of serious bodily injury; continued harassment that causes emotional distress, etc. These actions include those that are inflicted on a minor. In addition, teenagers who are under the age of 18 may have their parents or guardian file the DVPO on their behalf. The personal relationship requirement is widely construed to include spousal, familial, roommate and dating relationships.
The Effect of a Standing DPVO
The effect of a standing DVPO is wide-reaching. A judge can order the defendant to do certain acts and/or refrain from doing certain acts, including:
- Order the defendant to refrain from assaults, threats and harassment
- Require that law enforcement remove the defendant from a shared home
- Order the defendant to stay away from the plaintiff’s home, school or place of work
- Order the defendant to make support payments
- Order the defendant to forfeit any firearms or other weapons
- Any such order as the judge may see fit for the situation
North Carolina Domestic Violence Lawyers
Domestic violence is a serious matter. To be sure, these matters are some of the most volatile legal issues in the realm of family law. The attorneys at Powers Landreth PLLC have years of experience dealing with North Carolina domestic violence laws and DVPO issues. We know that keeping you and your family protected is top priority. As such, it is imperative to seek the assistance of an experienced DVPO attorney.
“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.
Britny’s parents were not satisfied with this outcome. They felt that first-degree murder should apply, given the abusive history of the relationship. Outside of certain exceptions under the felony murder rule, first-degree murder requires premeditation. Stated otherwise, the killer must plan out the murder ahead of time. Generally speaking, that is a difficult standard to prove in cases of domestic violence like Britny’s, where an argument sparked violence.
To continue the fight, Britny’s parents contacted the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV). The NCCADV is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and supporting victims.
Working alongside the NCCADV, Britny’s parents were able to find a Minnesota law that classified domestic violence killings as first-degree murder. So the NCCADV used the Minnesota law as a foundation to create similar legislation in North Carolina.
The initial form of Britny’s law would have made it much easier to apply first-degree murder whenever there was evidence of repeated past abuse. As the bill worked through the North Carolina legislature, however, there were some changes. In its final form, Britny’s law requires a previous conviction for domestic violence in order for first-degree murder to apply.
Overall, Britny’s law clears the path to first-degree murder for future domestic violence killings. If the killer has a previous conviction for domestic violence involving the victim, that qualifies as premeditation. In such circumstances, the resulting charge will likely be first-degree murder, not second-degree murder.
While Britny’s parents are happy to see changes to the domestic violence laws in North Carolina, they plan to continue fighting in their daughter’s honor. They would like to see the initial form of Britny’s law resurrected and signed into law, allowing any past evidence of abuse to escalate a domestic violence killing to first-degree murder.
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
If you are struggling with domestic violence, divorce or related concerns, it can be valuable to seek legal counsel from a trusted family law attorney. Contact Powers Landreth PLLC for dedicated assistance with your case.
A 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.
What is the Definition of Domestic Violence in North Carolina?
The legislature outlined the state-specific approach to domestic violence in Section 50B-1 of the North Carolina General Statutes. There are two major elements to the crime of domestic violence – personal relationships and types of conduct.
What is the Definition of Personal Relationship in North Carolina?
One element of the North Carolina definition of domestic violence concerns personal relationships. There are six different types of personal relationships outlined under Section 50B-1.
In order to qualify as a personal relationship, the people must be:
- Married or previously married;
- A male and female who currently live or previously lived together;
- In a parent-child or grandparent-grandchild relationship;
- Parents to the same child;
- Current or previous household members; or
- A male and female who are currently or were previously in a dating relationship.
What Conduct Qualifies as Domestic Violence in North Carolina?
The other element of the North Carolina definition of domestic violence concerns certain conduct. In cases where the perpetrator and victim have a personal relationship, it is domestic violence if the perpetrator:
- Inflicts harm or injury or attempts to inflict harm or injury;
- Threatens or harasses to the point of severe emotional distress; or
- Commits a sex crime, including rape.
Section 50B-1 does offer a specific exception concerning self-defense. If a person is in reasonable danger of injury or death, then they are allowed to defend themselves. In such circumstances of reasonable self-defense, it is not considered domestic violence.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
Whether you are facing domestic violence, divorce or other aspects of family law, it is important to have professional help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Powers Landreth PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for assistance with your case.Learn More
Advocates 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.
In light of this new development, we will review North Carolina laws concerning domestic violence in the following sections.
How Does North Carolina Define Domestic Violence?
In Section 50B-1 of the North Carolina General Statutes, we can find the state-specific definition of domestic violence.
The first requirement of domestic violence involves a personal relationship. We will discuss the parameters of personal relationships below. But for now, we must note that domestic violence can only apply if the parties have a personal relationship.
The second requirement of domestic violence in North Carolina involves the commission of certain crimes. It is domestic violence if the perpetrator:
- Causes or attempts to cause bodily injury;
- Inflicts substantial emotional distress by placing the aggrieved party in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment; or
- Commits rape or other sex offenses.
There is an important exception to Section 50B-1 concerning self-defense. It is not illegal for individuals to defend themselves in a reasonable manner.
How Does North Carolina Define Personal Relationship?
Section 50B-1 also provides us with North Carolina’s definition of personal relationship. As domestic violence only applies in cases where there is a personal relationship, this is an important concept to grasp.
Section 50B-1 outlines a number of categories that qualify as a personal relationship. People who are currently or were previously married spouses. People of the opposite sex who lived together or have previously dated also qualify. People who are engaged in a parent-child relationship – including grandparents and guardians – qualify as well. And another example is current or former household members, even if no dating relationship exists.
Do You Have Questions for an Experienced Family Law Attorney?
Whether you are dealing with domestic violence, divorce or other aspects of family law, it is paramount to take a cautious approach. After all, the legal issues at play concern you and your family, making it difficult to balance personal interests against family needs. Thankfully an experienced family law attorney at the North Carolina office of Powers Landreth PLLC can help you plan the road to recovery with carefully implemented strategy. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for help.
Appearing 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.
How the Defense Uses Your Anxiety, Fear, and Other Emotions to Your Disadvantage
Being confident, articulate, and calm in court is a vital part of your case’s success, whether you are appearing before a judge or a jury. This is always much easier said than done, as even preparation by your attorney can still leave you with high strung nerves. For Charlotte victims of domestic violence, sometimes no amount of practice can prepare them for facing their abuser in court. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, some of the most common mistakes that witnesses or victims make on the stand include:
- Not speaking clearly or loudly;
- Failing to understand the question;
- Appearing disheveled or uneasy;
- Losing their temper;
- Not fully explaining yes or no questions with further detail;
- Failing to appear positive or confident;
- Volunteering information; and
- Not abiding by the courtroom rules.
A courthouse therapy dog may provide the reassurance, comfort, and feeling of security to put many of your anxieties to rest. While a therapy dog may not be available in your case, a compassionate attorney will use other methods and strategies to help you in the courtroom.
Enlist the Help of an Experienced Charlotte, North Carolina Attorney Today
A compassionate domestic violence attorney with experience in such cases will understand the fragile emotional and psychological state that you are coming from. They will provide professional preparation and do everything in their power to put you at ease for your time in court. If you are seeking relief from an abusive relationship, please feel free to contact the Charlotte attorneys of Powers Landreth PLLC today or at your soonest availability.
If 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.
The Longer the Relationship and More Traumatic the Abuse, the Stronger the Trauma Bond
The longer the abusive relationship lasts, the harder it becomes to leave because the brain has essentially been re-wired to need the abusive person and the trauma that they cause. And, after abuse has occurred, the abused person will tend to seek the comfort or consolation of the person who carried out that very abuse. The abuser controls the abuse–when it stops and starts, therefore they hold not only the power to abuse, but also the power to make the pain end. According to Coping With Trauma: Hope Through Understanding, “the alternation of distress and relief cements the bond.” Additionally, the abused feels entirely dependent upon the abuser. This is why it is so difficult for millions of victims across the country and North Carolina to leave abusive relationships.
Contact an Attorney for Help
Whether you or a family member are trapped in an abusive relationship in which domestic violence occurs frequently or infrequently, it is of the utmost importance that you reach out for help to break the trauma bond. Counselors, safe houses, law enforcement, and attorneys can all offer different and important types of support. Please reach out to the Charlotte, North Carolina domestic violence attorneys at Powers Landreth PLLC today for help with your situation.