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An overview of domestic abuse in California

Domestic assault is an issue that has been gaining more widespread attention over the last few years than ever before. A couple of incidents involving players in the ever-popular National Football League have only served to highlight the fact that domestic abuse is an issue that can impact anyone, regardless of economic status.

However, many people still may not know exactly what the term "domestic abuse" entails. In California, the term encompasses not only physical conduct, but also threats of violence and the destruction of the alleged victim's property. Further, the common thread that differentiates domestic violence from other types of violent acts is that domestic violence involves an abuser and a victim who know each other and who are in an intimate relationship, such as a husband-wife or other romantic arrangement. The term can also apply when the abuse occurs between two people who are no longer in an intimate relationship, but have a child together.

The one thing about domestic abuse that may seem strange to our California readers is that this type of physical or psychological abuse is oftentimes viewed as a more serious problem than instances of violence or threatening behavior that occurs between two complete strangers. Why would that be? Well, it is a well-known fact in criminal justice systems throughout the country that most homicides are committed by people who know the victim. Most lawmakers are concerned about escalation, in which an abusive relationship might exist on a strictly psychological or emotional basis at first, but then progress to physical violence ultimately leading to the death of the victim.

Any California resident who is facing a domestic abuse charges should know that these types of cases are taken very seriously by prosecutors. A conviction on a domestic abuse charge can have significant ramifications on the offender's life, both in the near-term and long-term.

Source: California Courts, "Domestic Violence," Accessed Oct. 31, 2014

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