Of the 87,000 women and girls killed around the world in 2017, 58% died as a result of domestic or family violence. The incidence of death due to domestic violence is on the rise, including one shocking case in which officers witnessed a woman stabbed to death by her girlfriend just after opening the door to let them in. The officers were familiar with the Georgia couple from previous domestic dispute calls. In fact, the woman, now charged with murder, had just made bail for a battery charge earlier the same day. She returned home, where a domestic dispute with her girlfriend began. One of them called the police, who arrived just in time to witness the murder.
Domestic Battery Laws
Georgia code classifies domestic violence as family violence. Family violence includes any battery, felony, criminal damage to property, stalking, assault criminal trespass, or unlawful restraint if the crime occurs between:
Present or past spouses;
Parents of a shared child;
Parents and their children, including step kids and step parents;
Foster parents and children; or
Persons living in or that have formerly lived in the same household.
The good news is that you may not have to wait until the court date to receive the protection you need. Once a petition alleging family violence has been filed, the court can issue temporary relief orders to protect the petitioner from violence until the case can be heard in court.
After filing the petition, Georgia courts aim to move quickly, requiring a hearing to prove the allegation as quickly as possible, preferably within 10 days, but no later than 30 days after filing.
Protections Available by Law
If family violence is proven to the satisfaction of the court, a Family Violence Protection Order may be issued. While the Protection Order can serve as what is more commonly known as a restraining order, preventing the abuser from interacting with the victim(s), it can do much more:
Grant possession of the residence and prevent the abuser from entering or residing there
Provide assistance for the victim to collect their belongings from the property of the abuser
Require the abuser to provide housing for the victim
Grant temporary child or spousal support
Require the abuser to attend counseling
Require one of the parties to pay costs and attorney fees to the other
If the abuser chooses to violate any portion of the Family Violence Protection Order issued by the judge, he or she will be arrested and charged with Contempt of Court and/or a misdemeanor. The abuser may spend up to a year in jail and pay as much as $1,000 in fines. If violation of the Protection Order is deemed stalking or aggravated stalking, the abuser may be charged accordingly, and sentencing will depend on the precise charge.
Protect Yourself and Your Family Today
Do not wait until things get worse to get help. Contact the attorneys at Tyler Moore Law to begin the process of protecting yourself and those you love now. Not sure where to start? Call Georgia’s statewide hotline at 1.800.334.2836 or visit the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence site for more information.