As criminal defense attorneys, we frequently represent people who have been accused of intimate partner violence, otherwise known as “family violence,” “domestic violence” and “spousal abuse.” Often, these individuals are everyday people, who don’t look like criminals by any means. So, it got us wondering, what are some of the causes of intimate partner violence, and what triggers it?
Our research led us to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which identified some of the major causes of intimate partner violence. Here’s the NIJ’s take on the problem, “Intimate partner violence has serious physical, psychological, economic, and social consequences.”
Here is what the NIJ reported about intimate partner violence:
- Shockingly, 1 in 5 women seriously injured or killed by their intimate partner (husband or boyfriend), had zero warning before the attack.
- 45 percent of the murders of women were brought on by the women’s attempt to leave their abuser.
- Early parenthood (by the age of 21) was a risk factor for intimate partner abuse.
- There is a significant relationship between alcohol and violence against women.
- Severe poverty is linked to intimate partner violence.
- When benefits were reduced from Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), intimate partner homicides increased.
- Unemployment and intimate partner violence are linked. A study found that when a woman is a victim of abuse, it affects her ability to find employment.
Intimate Partner Violence and Emotional Distress
According to the NIJ, “Women who have experienced serious abuse face overwhelming mental and emotional distress. Almost half of the women reporting serious domestic violence also meet the criteria for major depression.” The NIJ went on to say that of those women, 31 percent suffer from anxiety, while 24 percent of them have posttraumatic stress disorder.
In Texas, intimate partner violence is technically called “family violence.” However, family violence offenses are actually criminalized under Title 5, Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code, Assaultive Offenses. Often, an offense of intimate partner violence is charged as assault or aggravated assault under the Texas Penal Code.
Need a Plano domestic violence lawyer? Contact our firm at once to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our legal team.