It’s hard to believe, but even in our perfectly manicured Orange County there are victims all around us. Yes, it could be a friend or acquaintance, a neighbor or coworker, often it’s those you would never, ever suspect. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so in honor of all those impacted and to raise awareness, fellow Mommy Esquire Tracy Miller is giving us the low down on a very important subject.
If you are a victim of domestic violence you may have felt feelings of fear, embarrassment and shame about coming forward to report abuse or confront your abuser. Imagine being a victim feeling this way and then being confronted with an additional issue – - being accused by your abuser of perpetrating domestic violence against him or her! It is common that abusers use intimidation and control tactics against their victims by telling them things like, “if you report me to the police then I will tell them you abused me; YOU will be thrown in jail and our children will be taken away from you.”
Domestic Violence is a serious matter not to be taken lightly and, where appropriate, orders protecting victims must be made. Moreover, wrongful allegations against domestic violence victims by their abusers can cause several issues to arise, such as residence exclusion (e.g., being “evicted” from one’s home), wrongful criminal convictions, and adverse effects on child custody, child support and/or spousal support.
Amy is a survivor of domestic violence who sought help after she was battered when served with a bogus restraining order action brought against her by her abuser. After years of being abused, Amy finally got up the nerve to confront her abuser, telling him that if he did not stop she would report him to the police. Amy’s abuser then put his “plan” into action and commenced his attempt to manipulate the system by manufacturing injuries to himself, telling the police that Amy had injured him! He then presented skewed and false facts in a declaration to the courts and secured a Temporary Restraining Order against Amy. Her abuser subsequently arranged to have Amy served with the restraining order by a third party who flailed the paperwork in Amy’s face and pushed her down during the service of the documents. Amy called the police and reported the violence that her abuser’s “representative” had perpetrated against her, and luckily there were witnesses to this abuse. I assisted Amy in fighting the restraining order allegations made by her abuser in the civil/family courts by revealing her abuser’s scheme to the Judge. I also pointed Amy in the right direction so that she was able to gain assistance from the Victim/Witness Services department at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
The restraining order case against Amy was dismissed and the District Attorney’s Office criminally charged her abuser’s representative with criminal battery against Amy. Amy was then protected by a protective order issued by criminal court.
Unfortunately, Amy’s story represents an experience shared by many domestic violence victims, both men and women, who fall prey to their abuser’s intimidation over them and attempts to manipulate the legal system.
Since the late 1980’s, the U.S. Congress has addressed the staggering ramifications of domestic violence against women and men. One in four women and one in thirteen men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
Victims of domestic violence are being mourned and survivors of this epidemic are being celebrated during this month as October has been formerly dedicated by the U.S. Congress as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” Via the 2011 Presidential Proclamation, our Country recommitted to assisting those in need to effectively seek and implement safety measures, such as breaking the cycle of violence by becoming financially independent from their abusers.
Attorney Miller is a former Felony Prosecutor. Attorney Miller has worked as a legal assistant in family, civil and criminal law firms. During much of her tenure at the District Attorney’s Office she was assigned to the Domestic Violence Unit and thereafter opened her own law firm Domestic Violence Legal Center, focusing on Criminal Domestic Violence Cases (representing wrongfully accused and victims) and Civil Harassment and Domestic Violence Restraining Order Cases (representing victims and wrongfully accused in family and civil courts).
Tracy’s experience in family, civil and criminal law allow her to cohesively handle a client’s needs in all courts, without the necessity of a client relying on several attorneys with different expertise. Tracy and her husband live in Orange County with their 3 year old son and their infant baby girl.