Have you been accused of assault? Has there also been a domestic violence designation attached? You’re finding out that this is taken very seriously in Washington. The potential penalties you now face are jail time, fines, mandatory treatment programs, mandatory counseling. This is not to mention the other life penalties you may now be facing such as possible divorce, your loved ones being afraid of you and the negative feelings you may be getting from your friends and family due to the societal stigma that’s been put on domestic.
You may be wondering what makes this situation be taken so seriously. You’re probably understanding of the fact that any assault is going to be viewed as serious. After all, it’s a violent crime. But you may be wondering why it is that a domestic violence designation aggravates the charge to such a higher degree. The reason for this is due to the proven effects that domestic violence can have and these are both immediate and long term.
The short term effects are obvious. Depending on what was done – there may be bruises, cuts, scrapes, choke marks, head injuries, broken bones and internal damage. Depending on the severity of these injuries they may require immediate medical attention. In fact, one of the long term effects of domestic violence stems from this as many victims are either denied the medical attention they need as part of the abuse or choose not to get it as they want to hide their situation. Of course, any injury that needs medical attention and does not receive it is going to cause long term physical problems.
These are not the only long term physical problems that appear to be caused by domestic violence. While in the relationship and even long after victims of domestic violence experience higher than normal levels of stress, fear and mistrust of others. Obviously that’s a long term emotional effect but it is an effect that can cause physical effects such as ulcers and the aggravation of existing health problems such as arthritis or heart problems. It has also been shown that victims also have a much higher rate of such health problems as low back pain, headaches, diabetes, asthma, digestive disease. Also, it has been shown to cause long term negative effects on brain function. The reason for this is probably simply due to the fact that the violence has permanently weakened their body.
In addition to the emotional effects mentioned above there are also other psychological effects. Many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You may associate this illness with its flashbacks and chronic nightmares with veterans but it can be triggered by any intense and extended trauma and domestic violence is such a trauma. Some victims become dissociative – in other words they will check out and put themselves in their own little world and have a very difficult time living, working and coping the the real world. The most common psychological effect is depression. Depression is just what it sounds like. It’s an extended or higher than normal bout of sadness. It usually has feelings of hopelessness and despair – this can in turn affect their appetite or cause unexplained crying. It has even been known to lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Due to the above emotional and psychological effects it probably comes as no surprise that the victim’s social life is constantly threatened. One social aspect of life that frequently gets affected is their religious. Some religious groups look down on anyone leaving a marriage no matter what the reason. Also, for apparent reasons, it is very difficult for most domestic violence victims to form intimate relationships.
As strange as it may seem there are also economic effects. Many victims find it hard to hold a job either due to psychological issues or due to frequent absenteeism because of health issues. Also, some will frequently move out of fear of others – this is very costly.
Another long term effect of domestic violence is the multiple physical, developmental, and emotional effects that it can have on any child victims or witnesses that were present. That issue has been dealt with more fully elsewhere on this blog. However, it should be pointed out that children who are victims or witnesses of domestic violence quite often grow up to be violent themselves or are victimized again as they are more tolerant.
These are the reasons that Washington takes domestic violence assault so seriously. If you are facing charges of this nature you do need to be aware of the facts. Plus you need to get your story heard, you need legal counsel as to how to proceed and you need your rights defended. We are aware that there are both false accusations and mitigating circumstances. You will get these needs met when you hire from the law office of Smith & White, PLLC for your Seattle Tacoma defense attorney. Please call – the first consultation is free.