Crime Victims Now Have Constitutional Rights

Counteracting Myths About Victims of Domestic Violence in Criminal Trials

February 9, 2019

How a victims’ rights attorney can help victims of domestic violence get justice

Counteracting Myths About Victims of Domestic Violence in Criminal Trials

Domestic violence is one of the most prevalent crimes in our society. Also known as intimate partner violence, it involves a pattern of abuse and control that can manifest in a number of ways: physical abuse, verbal or emotional abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, destruction of property or pets, or reproductive coercion. In California, domestic violence is against the law — and perpetrators may be charged with a crime depending on the type of abuse committed and the victim involved.

One of the most challenging aspects of domestic violence cases is that there are many myths about victims of domestic violence. This can make it more difficult to secure a conviction against an alleged abuser — and get justice for the victim. That is where having a skilled Irvine victims’ rights attorney to represent you as a victim of domestic violence can be invaluable.

There are a number of misconceptions about domestic violence that may influence the decision-making process in a criminal trial. For example, people who have not experienced abuse or are not educated in the field of domestic violence might believe that unless a victim leaves her abuser immediately after the first incident, she or he isn’t a true victim. Similarly, people who are unfamiliar with the dynamics of abuse may not understand why an abuse victim returns to her or his abuser, or why a victim did not report incidents of abuse. An experienced Irvine victims’ rights attorney can introduce evidence to explain why victims of domestic violence may act in a particular way — and increase the possibility of a conviction.

In many cases, a victim of domestic violence may have ongoing contact with her or his abuser. A judge or jury may assume that if a victim voluntarily speaks with or sees the person that she or he alleges is abusive, then the allegations are false. However, research demonstrates that there are a number of reasons why a victim of domestic violence may have ongoing contact with an abuser. This includes to facilitate custody arrangements, feeling guilty because the abuser has expressed remorse or feelings of depression, or attempting to manage risk by being aware of the abuser’s location. An expert witness, such as the director of a non-profit that serves victims of domestic violence, could testify about the reasons why a victim of domestic violence might remain in contact with her or his abuser.

To achieve justice — and to improve the likelihood that an abuser will be convicted — an Irvine victims’ rights attorney can seek to introduce testimony during a criminal trial that helps to debunk common myths about domestic violence victims. An expert witness could testify, or the victim could explain why she or he stayed or remained in contact with an abuser. This information could also be introduced at sentencing and restitution hearings, and at hearings involving the potential release of those convicted of domestic violence.

In California, victims of crime have specific rights under Marsy’s Law. Attorney Michael E. Fell is here to help victims by fighting for their rights in the criminal justice system. As a former prosecutor, he strongly believes that victims deserve their own advocate

Justice 4 Crime Victims is dedicated to representing Californians who have been victims of all types of crimes. Contact us today at 949-585-9055 or mfell@fellesq.com to schedule a free initial consultation with an Irvine victims’ rights attorney.