Friday, April 10, 2020

Family Law and COVID-19: Protections from Domestic Violence

From National Law Review 

New Jersey, like most of the United States, has been given “stay-at-home” orders designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the general public. However, to a victim of domestic violence who is trapped in perpetual proximity to their abuser, these “stay-at-home” orders actually equate to the notion of a lose-lose decision: Stay at home and be abused, or leave home and expose themselves to a deadly virus and a world that has largely closed its doors.

Serious domestic violence often leaves victims feeling helpless, but the additional restrictions and general anxiety from the current pandemic may be too much to bear. However, there are protections available to victims.

New Jersey has the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, which allows a victim of domestic violence to obtain a restraining order preventing further contact, communication, and domestic violence from their abuser. A violation of a restraining order is a criminal act, subjecting the abuser to arrest, prosecution, jail time and other forms of penalty.

Read more here 

April 10, 2020 in Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Oklahoma bills aim to strengthen punishment for domestic violence, assault

From News 12

Two bills strengthening punishment for domestic violence in Oklahoma passed committee on Monday.
The two bills, authored by Dustin Roberts of Durant, would affect bonds and sentencing.
House Bill 1931 would make anyone arrested for violating a protective order, domestic abuse, stalking or harassment ineligible for a personal recognizance bond. The bill would also prohibit bond to be posted by organizations that help low-income suspects.
House Bill 1299 would make it so anyone convicted of assault, battery, or assault and battery with a dangerous weapon would be required to serve a minimum of 85 percent of the sentence imposed.

Read more here

March 5, 2020 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

MD Needs a Felony Strangulation Law, Advocates and Lawmakers Argue


Hargrove would tell her story multiple times in the House Office Building on Tuesday, as she joined with lawmakers and advocates pushing for Maryland to establish a felony strangulation law.

Hargrove said she wanted lawmakers to understand what it feels like to be strangled, “to not know whether you’re going to wake up.”

Stella Hargrove, a domestic violence survivor, chokes back tears in the House Office Building on Tuesday after telling her story of abuse, including strangulation, at the hands of her ex-husbaMnd.

Under current Maryland law, strangulation can be charged as a first-degree assault ― which says “a person may not intentionally cause or attempt to cause serious physical injury” with loss of bodily functions or a substantial risk of death ― but prosecutors say the cases are difficult to prove in court.

Read more here

January 29, 2020 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 28, 2019

Domestic Violence Victim Arrested for Turning in Husband's Guns to Police

From USA Today:

The Florida State Attorney's Office is being urged not to prosecute a woman who was arrested after turning in her husband's guns to police while he was in jail on domestic violence charges.

After a divorce court meeting on June 14, Joseph and Courtney Irby got into an argument, according to an arrest report obtained by the Lakeland Ledger. When Courtney Irby, 32, tried to leave, her husband followed her, rammed into her vehicle and forced her off the road, police said. 

Read more here.

June 28, 2019 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

UK Police Blunt Knives Plan to Tackle Domestic Violence

From Nottinghampost News:

Victims of domestic violence will have their kitchen knives replaced with blunt utensils to prevent their partners attacking them in their own home.

Nottinghamshire Police are piloting the scheme where around 100 'no point' knives will be handed to victims who have either been threatened or attacked with a knife.

Police are concerned about the high level of knife-related incidents that happen in the home, and are hoping the new scheme has the potential to save lives.
Read more here.

June 16, 2019 in Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Justice Department Improves Prosecution of Domestic Abusers with Guns to Tackle Mass Shootings

From  BuzzFeed News:

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced a new push to boost federal gun prosecutions for domestic abusers, highlighting it as part of an effort to address mass shootings. Advocates for domestic violence survivors and gun safety groups say it’s a good step, but won’t make a serious dent unless loopholes are closed that limit whom the feds can take to court.

Read more here.


June 11, 2019 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Violence Against Women Act is Turning 25

From The New York Times:

Since it was proposed in the early 1990s as a bill to protect women “on the streets and in homes,” the Violence Against Women Act has been argued over by lawmakers, the Supreme Court, civil rights groups and the National Rifle Association, among others.

The bill, which President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1994, was designed to protect victims of domestic crimes and reduce the stigma associated with domestic abuse. It must be renewed every few years by Congress, and on Thursday the House approved a bill that would reauthorize the act for a fourth time.

The act has established the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice, and myriad programs to train victim advocates, police officers, prosecutors and judges on gender-based violence. Since it was created, more than $7 billion in federal grants has been given to programs that prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. It has also funded shelters, community programs and studies tracking violence against women.

Read more here.

April 11, 2019 in Current Affairs, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Tracking Your Spouse Can Result in a Final Restraining Order

From JD Supra/Fox Rothschild LLP:

In the recent unpublished decision of L.G. v. T.G.. the Appellate Division addresses an issue that we are dealing with more and more – tracking one’s spouse through a hidden GPS on their car.  GPS in terms of domestic violence isn’t necessarily “new” – you can read about the beginnings in Eric Solotoff’s 2011 blog. 

But this case also demonstrates that having a third party contract the private investigator services does not protect a defendant/spouse from entry of a final restraining order (“FRO”) based upon stalking and that reviewing the information/using it against the victim can also lead to the FRO based upon harassment. 

Of note, although not explicitly stated, is that the tracking/private investigation was not intended to assist the defendant’s case, such as for cohabitation, but rather the opinion reads as though the only purpose of tracking the plaintiff was to learn about and question her whereabouts.  Other important factors that we often see, and which the court considered, include that the defendant was the sole wage earner and can therefore exert financial control against the plaintiff and the defendant used his larger physical stature to instill fear in the plaintiff. 

In this very thorough decision, before addressing the merits of the appeal, the Appellate Division specifically stated that it “defer[s] to the judge’s thoughtful findings on this subject because those findings were solidly grounded on the judge’s credibility findings – he found L.G. much more credible than T.G., who was evasive – as well as other reliable evidence”.

Read more here.

March 24, 2019 in Current Affairs, Divorce (grounds), Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 22, 2019

Women Take to the Streets of Pakistan to Rewrite Their Place in History

From The Guardian:

During Jalwat Ali’s school days in Lahore, there were limited spaces to gather with other women, never mind flood the streets with punchy placards.

Public spaces often feel constricted in Pakistan, as though under critical male scrutiny. But over the past few days, Ali has been recruiting dozens of women, from garment workers to domestic helpers who barely get a day off. “To solve any problem, we need to make a collective effort,” she says.

On Friday, a series of International Women’s Day marches will be held in several Pakistani cities, calling for women’s place in society to be rewritten.

Organisers hope the aurat march (“women’s march”) and aurat azadi march(“women’s liberation march”) will bring a cross-section of society on to the streets to draw attention to the struggle for reproductive, economic, and social justice across Pakistan. The marchers will be protesting against sexual harassment in the workplace, child marriage, “honour killings”, wage inequalities and limited political representation.

Read more here.

March 22, 2019 in Domestic Violence, International, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Custody Dispute: A likely motive to Kill

From CNN:

The fiancé of missing Colorado mother Kelsey Berreth killed her by wrapping a sweater around her head and bashing her with a baseball bat and later burned her body in a water trough, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing in Cripple Creek, west of Colorado Springs.

On Tuesday, nearly three months after Berreth went missing, prosecutors filed new charges against Patrick Frazee, including tampering with a body and counts related to a crime of violence. He was arrested in December on murder charges and is being held without bond.

Colorado Bureau of Investigations agent Gregg Slater then testified about his interview with Idaho nurse Krystal Lee Kenney, who told investigators she had an intimate relationship with the defendant in early 2018 and provided details of the Thanksgiving Day killing, including that the weapon was a baseball bat. Kenney pleaded guilty to evidence tampering on February 8.
Read more here.

February 21, 2019 in Custody (parenting plans), Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

UK Lawmakers Push to Include Financial Abuse in Domestic Violence Law


The thing Anna remembers most about her 14-year marriage is being broke all the time.

Despite working three jobs for more than 60 hours a week, all of her money went to pay for the utility bills, child care, food and repairs to the house she and her husband owned together just outside London.

It was never enough. Her husband didn’t help financially. Instead, he took out credit cards to go on expensive weekend getaways — without her or their three children.

Anna is a pseudonym — to protect her identity. She says her husband refused to provide for childcare because he thought it was her responsibility as the mother.

Read more here.

February 9, 2019 in Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Violence Against Women Act Expires

From NPR:

The partial shutdown of the U.S. government, which is affecting more than 800,000 federal workers and numerous government agencies, also has consequences for the Violence Against Women Act, which expired at midnight on Friday.

Separately, both the House and the Senate passed spending deals that included clauses that would have extended VAWA until Feb. 8.

But because the law's future became inextricably tied to the larger budget debate, which hinges on a dispute between Democrats and Republicans over funding for a border wall, it was not reauthorized.

VAWA funds and administers numerous programs assisting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Its expiration does not prevent all of these programs from being administered — according to The Washington Post, grants already awarded under the law will not be affected. But future payment requests from programs that receive VAWA funding will be delayed until the law is reauthorized.

Read more here.

January 16, 2019 in Current Affairs, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Exploitation of Non-molestation Order!

From The Guardian:

The number of non-molestation orders – issued by courts to prevent domestic abuse – has rocketed by 37% over the past five years because they are being exploited to secure legal aid, according to the charity Families Needs Fathers.

The “weaponisation” of court procedures by “angry and vengeful parents” is encouraging false allegations and fuelling conflict between separating couples, the head of the organisation has claimed.

The figures are based on the latest quarterly statistics produced by the Ministry of Justice. Since 2013, when the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (Laspo) came into force the number of non-molestation orders issued by English and Welsh courts has increased from fewer than 20,000 to more than 26,000 a year.

Read more here

October 19, 2018 in Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Poverty and Domestic Violence

From ABC Australia:

There's a simple reason Lynette stayed with her abusive partner for five long years: she had no other choice.

"I didn't have the financial means to leave," the mother of two young children said.

Lynette had no money of her own to fall back on and, with no job to rely on, had no income.

She also could not rely on assistance from the Government.

"I tried to leave about six times, but the problem was, when I went in to Centrelink, it takes six to eight weeks for payment to come through."

Read more here.

October 7, 2018 in Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Track Palin Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges

From CNN:

Sarah Palin's oldest son, Track Palin, was arrested Friday on domestic violence charges, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers responded to his home in Wasilla at 10:37 p.m. after a report of a disturbance.

Palin allegedly assaulted an acquaintance, then prevented her from calling police by taking away her phone, troopers said in a statement.

He then physically resisted troopers while being placed under arrest, authorities said.

Read more here.

October 3, 2018 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Does Surveilling Alleged Domestic Abusers Violate Their Rights?

From The Washington Post:

In the United States, about one in three women in intimate relationships experiences abuse, including rape, battery, intimidation and stalking. But those who report domestic violence to authorities or attempt to leave their abusers are at risk of experiencing harassment and separation assault, which can sometimes be deadly. They are also vulnerable to being coaxed by an alleged abuser into backpedaling their story. These are forms of witness tampering that interfere with a victim’s ability to testify.

In response to lethal cases of separation assault, a growing number of state legislatures have passed or are considering passing legislation that mandates or permits the electronic monitoring of domestic violence defendants — most recently with GPS tracking ankle monitors — to ensure they comply with judges’ stay away, protection or restraining orders. While most defendants comply with such orders, a minority of alleged abusers with a long history of violence regard them as a mere “piece of paper.” Requiring GPS monitoring is hence a way of giving the orders teeth.

Read more here.

September 13, 2018 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Colorado Family Struggled With Debt Before Murders

From CNN:

Chris and Shanann Watts detailed their life on social media. They shared photos of beach vacations to San Diego and screengrabs of lovey-dovey text messages. They gushed about their daughters and posted photos of the little girls' gap-toothed grins and funny dances.

"Happy Husband Appreciation Day! I couldn't imagine a better man for us," Shanann Watts wrote next to their photo in April.

"You spoil us with love an(d) attention! You put up with 3 impatient, demanding women in the house," she continued. "You work so hard everyday to provide for us. I love you so much."

Four months after Shanann Watts posted that photo, her husband sits in a jail in Colorado, suspected of killing her, along with their daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.

Read more here.

August 23, 2018 in Bankruptcy, Current Affairs, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Draft of Teen Dating Violence Policy Presented

From WTTV4:

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A local student just took a major step in getting a domestic violence policy implemented in all IPS schools. She went before the board Thursday night to present the first draft of the proposal.

"We can accomplish this by becoming the first school district to implement a teen dating abuse prevention and response policy," said Maria De Leon, Domestic Violence Network Youth Advocate.

Maria has been a youth advocate for the past three years. A recent Crispus Attucks graduate, she was determined to finish what she started by getting IPS to adopt a teen dating violence policy.

"To be educated on what a healthy and an unhealthy relationship is. What domestic violence is in general. And what the difference between physical and emotional abuse is," Maria said.

Nationally 1 in 3 teens experience teen dating violence. And the problem is apparent in Indiana.

Read more here.

August 21, 2018 in Current Affairs, Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Court Jails Mother Who Hid With Sons in Custody Battle

From BBC News:

A Spanish court has jailed a woman for five years for going into hiding with her two sons rather than hand them to the father, whom she accused of abuse.

Juana Rivas has also been stripped of custody rights for six years and told to pay hefty legal costs.

Spanish politicians and women's groups have criticised the verdict.

The long-running custody battle for the boys - now aged 12 and four - has become a rallying point in Spain's battle against gender violence.

Read more here.

July 31, 2018 in Custody (parenting plans), Domestic Violence, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hoosiers Rally at Statehouse Demanding Resignation of AG Curtis Hill

From The Journal Review:

More than 75 Hoosier women and men rallied Saturday outside the Statehouse demanding the resignation of embattled Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill.

Holding signs reading "Power Is Not Permission," "Time's Up" and "Elect Feminists Now," participants said they came together to show support for the four women allegedly groped by Hill at an Indianapolis bar March 15, including state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, and to stand with the numerous state leaders who have called for Hill to leave office.

"Public servants and elected public officials of the state of Indiana should be held, and must be held, at a higher standard," said Kerry Hyatt Bennett, legal counsel at the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Read more here.

July 11, 2018 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)