Domestic abuse can be very difficult for victims to talk about. Many abuse victims have long histories of keeping the abuse they’ve suffered hidden so it becomes a challenge to overcome the strong feelings of shame and secrecy. Sadly, when an abuse victim finally decides to make the break and get divorced, it becomes difficult to prove domestic abuse charges against a spouse, precisely because they may have kept this secret. Abusers are rarely abusive in public. Violence from one spouse to another typically occurs when they are alone. If there is no record of the abuse because the victim kept it hidden, the opposing spouse’s attorney is likely to claim the accusation is false and being used as a tactic to win a case.
For spouses on the other side of an accusation of domestic violence, when the accusations ARE false, being falsely accused of a serious crime is frightening. It’s important to understand what types of evidence courts consider as proof of domestic violence claims.
If a victim of domestic violence has filed a police report charging a spouse with spousal abuse or child abuse in the past, that documented evidence of a history of abuse allegations is one of the best forms of evidence that the abuse has occurred, regardless of whether or not charges were filed.
Police records can also show whether or not the police made prior visits to the home in response to calls from concerned friends or neighbors who heard the sounds of abuse and called the police, a record of prior police visits to a home can serve as important evidence backing an alleged victim’s claims.
Photographs are one of the strongest types of physical evidence available in domestic violence cases. If an alleged victim has photographic evidence of bruises and other injuries consistent with domestic violence, it can be powerfully persuasive. Photos of damaged furniture, holes punched in walls, and broken household items after a violent scene are also sometimes used as evidence backing domestic violence claims. In some cases, broken items themselves can be evidence of domestic violence occurring within the home.
Medical providers are mandatory reporters when they encounter patients who are victims of abuse. Any records of this type of report are strong evidence, as are medical reports showing that an alleged victim sought treatment for injuries consistent with domestic violence.
When a victim testifies about experiencing domestic violence, it can be powerfully persuasive. This can be a strong benefit for proving domestic violence has occurred, but it can also be a liability if one spouse makes up false accusations against the other and then testifies to those falsities in court. Sometimes one spouse falsely accuses the other of violence as revenge for a bad breakup or to attempt to gain full custody of the children in a highly contentious custody battle.
Domestic violence itself is not a criminal charge in Arizona. Instead, it’s a designation added to a specific charge like assault, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, unlawful imprisonment, negligent homicide, or 1st and 2nd-degree murder.
It’s important to be familiar with forms of evidence of domestic violence used in court no matter whether you wish to prove violence or defend yourself against these accusations. To learn more information, contact our Chandler divorce lawyers today.