When you’re a victim of domestic or sexual abuse, getting a lawyer involved as soon as possible is the way to go. Having an unbiased party assess the situation and fight for you in a court of law is your best bet at getting justice.
The most important thing about domestic violence cases is knowing your rights. Victims can often be in denial and downplay abuse either because they’ve been gaslit by their abuser or don’t want to fuss with the system. However, abuse is illegal, and these cases should be settled to get the defendant the compensation they deserve.
If you’re still on the fence, here are a few concrete examples of how the law firm of Montagna Law can help you.
Before the abuser is served with a lawsuit, you can get this order as long as you provide testimony within 10 days. This gives you a chance to plead your case without your abuser being present.
This is one that most folks generally know, but there are levels to this:
A lawyer understands the reasons a victim might stay in an abusive situation, such as for the children or financial stability. If you have an abusive spouse, a lawyer can help you get a divorce. This can lead to related legal matters such as child custody, spousal support, and what you’re owed in marital property.
Law enforcement may not always be trained correctly in the careful matter of talking to an abuse victim. Confrontations about your situation can sometimes be emotional and re-traumatizing. Your lawyer can act as the middleman and be a barrier to inappropriate or triggering questioning.
Much like questioning, discussing your traumatic abuse in a room full of people can make you relive the situation. Aggressive prosecution can make you feel like all that happened is your fault. Having a lawyer can ensure your case stands a chance without you having to testify, and they can look at other evidence to push ahead.
Family and friends are wonderful support systems during such a difficult time, but it’s nice to have someone to lean on who can actually help your situation. Getting the details off your chest and having an unbiased person tell you it’s not your fault can offer some solace.
A lawyer would recommend for the strongest case possible, do the following to the best of your ability:
Make note of the dates, places, objects used, type of abuse, and any details in a hidden journal or cloud folder such as Dropbox or Google Drive that your abuser cannot find.
Take photos of bruises, scars, scratches, torn clothing, or any indication of abuse. Keep them in a cloud folder such as Dropbox or Google Drive where your abuser cannot find and delete them or email them to someone you trust.
If you went to the hospital, called the police, think a neighbor may have overheard, told a friend about the abuse – anyone you can think of who can back up your case – be sure to give your lawyer their name.
If you live with your abuser, tell your lawyer so he will not send any mail to the house that your abuser might find. A PO box could be a possible option.
Jon Montagna received a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from American University in Washington D.C. and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1999. Jon practices law in the Hampton Roads Virginia area.