The Californian government is tightening its laws as cases of domestic violence and abuses rise in the state.
Domestic abuse is the number one non-reporting crime in the United States. Experts believe that domestic violence has been on the rise in recent months because of the economic conditions and the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unemployment is at an all-time high, and people are losing their jobs, which has led to an increase in crime rates. The federal and Californian state laws have tightened their laws to flatten the curve and help those abused.
Nature of Domestic Violence
Domestic abuse or domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner in any relationship. Abuse is defined as the deliberate performance of physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological acts or threats of actions that harm or threaten another person. It includes any behaviors that fear, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, injure, humiliate, blame, or wound another person.
Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or social class.
Domestic violence can affect anyone regardless of one’s racial background, age, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation. Relationships can occur, such as those between couples who are married, cohabiting partners, and dating partners. Everyone from all backgrounds is susceptible to domestic violence.
Domestic Violence and COVID-19 in the U.S.
Many problems are associated with domestic abuse, responsible for the high arrests and convictions for domestic violence. Domestic violence’s primary and common reasons include alcohol and drug abuse and a lack of education on domestic violence, and a lack of understanding of the impact of violence in our society.
The spread of the COVD-19 also results and intensifies domestic violence and abuse for some reasons:
- Stay-at-home orders during the lockdown promote social isolation and difficulty to move.
- Layoffs and rise of unemployment give financial problems that contribute to stress, depression and violence.
- Limited access to basic needs like food, education and healthcare encourages violence at home and other crimes like theft and burglary.
Since the pandemic began, victims’ advocates and law enforcement officials have expressed concern that orders to stay at home would increase domestic abuse. Officials were concerned that unemployment was likely to rise, leading to stressful, potentially abusive conditions.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (2020), ten million people are victims of intimate partner violence each year. There have been over 500 homicide incidents resulting from domestic violence in the U.S., and 20% of American women have been raped.
One in four women and one in ten men had been assaulted by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. They reported having concerns. About 43 million women and about 38 million men have experienced psychological aggression from a current or former partner in their life from an intimate partner (CDC, 2020).
Domestic Violence in California
California is one of the states that has seen an increase in domestic violence. The state has a stringent domestic abuse law that justly punishes the offenders and lawfully helps the victims. Any domestic abuse includes verbal abuse, sexual abuse, or assault with a deadly weapon.
Police reports are limited in scope and do not include all instances of victimization. Those who are a victim of domestic violence may not feel comfortable calling the police. They may fear retaliation by their abusers, the loss of custody of their children, or police violence directed at their partners and themselves. Rather than that, victims frequently seek assistance from shelters and resource centers.
Resource Centers and Shelters
From March to May (2020), California residents made approximately 17% more calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Additionally, while the number of hotline calls had decreased in April and May 2019, there were between 7% and 15% more calls received.
Compared to last year, one San Francisco shelter received 26% more calls and is now complete. In April, a Sacramento-based agency that issues temporary restraining orders reported a threefold increase year after year. Los Angeles County’s hotline received 70% more calls in March than last year, and several city shelters reported increased call volumes as well.
In the following months, resource centers and shelters have received and recorded fewer violence assistance calls. It does not mean that this home-related violence has lessened. The reality behind this is the absence of a safe place and time to call for assistance. There is a controlled movement of people because of the implementation of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.
Domestic violence laws in California consider harming and threatening to harm an intimate partner as a punishable crime. Common charges to an intimate partner or domestic violence include:
- Penal Code 273.5, corporal injury to a spouse or inhabitant
- Penal Code 243(e)(1), domestic battery
- Penal Code 273d, child abuse
- Penal Code 422, criminal threats
- Penal Code 646.9, stalking
- Penal Code 647(j)(4), revenge porn
- Penal Code 653.2, posting harmful information on the internet
Imprisonment is the typical punishment to anyone proven to abuse his or her intimate partner. The following consequences are provided to any offender according to the California state penal codes:
- Mandatory participation in the intervention program
- Compensation to damages
- Restraining or Protective Orders
- Loss of rights to child custody
- Loss of rights to gun ownership
- Permanent criminal record, and
- Deportation or inadmissibility for non-citizens
However, experts say that there is still much work to be done. The enforcement of domestic violence laws is only a portion of what needs to be done to eliminate domestic violence in the country.
Anyone who suspects that they or someone that they know is being abused in any way is encouraged to contact the nearest police department or 911 right away. The Department of Social Services is responsible for providing help to those families or individuals who are in danger of being abused and have information on where they can go to get help.
Today, many resources provide legal support to domestic violence victims much more accessible, effective and efficient. Visit the Law Offices of Leon F. Bennett today to make the most of your opportunity to be legally supported and defended. Call us today at 818-964-0238 for a consultation.