Domestic Violence Law
Domestic violence law focuses on legal issues related to family and partner abuse. It provides the criminal rules for punishing those who cause emotional or physical harm to others with whom they share a family or other close relationship.
It also deals with the civil protections available to victims of this type of harm. Federal legislation, most notably the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), recognizes domestic violence as a criminal act. However, the vast majority of domestic violence offenses are prosecuted under state law.
Domestic violence lawyers may spend their careers in direct service helping clients affected by domestic violence through civil legal cases such as protection orders, custody, and divorce or in the criminal context prosecuting domestic violence criminal offenses. Some domestic violence lawyers work in policy writing legislation and regulations that advocate on behalf of abused persons. Though domestic violence work has traditionally occurred in the U.S. legal system, a growing number of lawyers are focusing on preventing domestic violence around the world. Domestic violence lawyers often work in nonprofit organizations or in the government with the Department of Justice or State Attorney General’s offices.
What to do if you are interested in Domestic Violence Law?
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Helpful Domestic Violence Law Resources
- ABA Commission on Domestic Violence links to organizations and resources related to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and trafficking.
- Feminist.com: National Organizations and Clearinghouses on Violence Against Women includes list of policy/advocacy and direct service organizations.
- HG.org: Domestic Violence Law provides a basic overview of the practice area as well as useful links to educational resources and selected employers.
- National Network to End Domestic Violence is a non-profit policy organization that performs legislative policy work and provides resources to domestic violence coalitions across the country.
- Women’s Law.org is a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and includes volunteer opportunities and job openings.
- U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Violence Against Women includes links to national advocacy groups and information on other VAWA initiatives.