Domestic violence

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
Domestic violence is more common than many people believe, and the victims are found in all socioeconomic groups. Most cases of domestic violence involve the abuse of women or children by men, but there are also cases of women abusing men, women abusing women, and men abusing men. Domestic violence is defined as abusive physical behavior in the home, including slapping, punching, or causing bodily injury; forced or coerced sexual acts; threats of abuse; or psychological abuse. In most states, a victim of domestic violence can obtain a temporary restraining order instructing the abuser either to cease the abusive behavior, to leave the home, or to stay away from the victim entirely. Failure to abide by a restraining order can lead to arrest. Temporary restraining orders are generally issued by a judge, but in some states, the police can issue an emergency temporary restraining order. If the abuser has committed a crime, the police will generally treat the case as a normal criminal case and arrest the perpetrator. In other cases, in which the police have not actually witnessed the abuse, a complaint against the perpetrator must be filed in order to have him or her arrested. If children are involved in a domestic violence situation, the police or child protective services should be notified immediately. There are many volunteer organizations helping the victims of domestic violence. According to most studies, domestic violence will usually continue until action is taken to prevent it, and waiting to report a case of systematic domestic violence may only lead to a deterioration of the situation.

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