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Family Violence: In the News, In Our Homes

Over the last two weeks, 12 people have died from domestic violence in Georgia. Most of the victims were women and children, all trapped in the same cycle of threats and abuse.

The rash of recent murders is disheartening, but it is not the whole story. Many more women, children and even men across Georgia live in fear everyday because of their boyfriend's, girlfriend's, spouse's, ex-spouse's or parent's behavior.

In fact, according to a 2010 report by the Governor's Office for Children and Families, there were 58,420 family violence incidents in 2008 - and that's just the number of reported incidents. Most victims of domestic violence suffer in silence for years, the prey of frequent and varied abuse (verbal, physical, sexual, etc.).

If you are one of these victims and you face imminent fear of bodily harm, call the police. After contacting the police, or if you are not in imminent danger, contact a Georgia family law attorney experienced in domestic abuse. A lawyer can help you petition the court for a restraining order to immediately protect yourself and, when necessary, your family.

What Is Domestic Violence / Family Violence?

Georgia law defines "family violence," as the commission of a felony or "battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint or criminal trespass" between "past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household." (O.C.G.A., section 19-13-1.)

The term "domestic violence" covers much more than physical abuse; it can include emotional abuse and abuse to property.

Domestic Abuse and Divorce

From false allegations of abuse to additional threats of abuse, divorce proceedings can be especially difficult when domestic violence is involved. A Georgia divorce lawyer can help you tell the judge your side of the story while taking steps to protect you and your children from future harm. Strong advocacy can be especially important when determining child custody and visitation arrangements.

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Everyone Has a Part to Play in Ending Domestic Violence," July 18, 2011

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