How Can a Lawyer Help Resolve Issues of Violence Between Intimate Partners?

Intimate partner violence affects people from all races, genders, religions, and sexual orientations. It can cause physical, emotional, and financial damage.

Legal Issues

Many individual, family, community, and societal factors can increase (risk) or reduce (protective) intimate partner violence. These include male-controlling behavior, weak legal sanctions for sexual violence, and gender inequality. Most intimate partner violence cases involve cyclical abuse, but domestic violence can occur in a single incident. The abuses can be psychological, emotional, or physical. They can be inflicted by a parent or other relative or intimate partner. Stalking is a common form of intimate partner violence and can be classified as criminal. It involves following or harassing a person by phone or email, sending unwanted gifts, defaming them in the media, destroying property, or showing up at their place of work or home. This can be very dangerous for victims and may co-occur with other forms of intimate partner violence. An expert lawyer like Catherine Cerulli New York, can help victims of stalking by filing a complaint or a restraining order against the perpetrator.


Intimate partner violence is often a significant issue in family law cases. However, abuse victims are often reluctant to express their needs in mediation sessions when they fear their abusive partners may be present.

Using an interviewing technique to assess for domestic violence during pre-mediation screening, a lawyer can help determine whether the case is appropriate to mediate. The lawyer can also use the same tool to screen for other power and control dynamics, like isolation and intimidation, to gain an accurate view of the situation and a victim’s readiness for mediation. Mediators must be aware of the potential for individuals undergoing physiological stress to have anger, selective attention, and biased memories. They should use techniques to balance power, including early caucuses and scheduling decision-making portions of mediation later in the process. They should also be prepared to talk through issues related to safety, including how to obtain restraining or protective orders. 

Legal Representation

Violence between family members and intimate partners is a serious issue that impacts all communities. However, low-income people are at greater risk of experiencing domestic violence.

Individuals may require a legal advocate to help them navigate the criminal justice system if they have been charged with a domestic violence offense. A domestic violence lawyer could work to defend their rights and craft a strong defense strategy in their case. Safety planning is essential for any client preparing to leave their violent partner. They need to establish a plan of where they will go, what they will take with them, and who they will contact if they need help. Many clients have complex and intersecting needs that make them particularly vulnerable to domestic violence. These include individuals from marginalized and vulnerable communities (such as people who are HIV positive, Indigenous women, LGBTQ2S, and those living in rural areas) and those with mental health issues.

Legal Advice

Violence between intimate partners can take many forms, including physical violence, sexual coercion, stalking, and psychological aggression. These abuses damage women’s physical and mental health, prevent them from participating in social activities, and increase the risk of infection with HIV.

The effects of domestic and sexual violence are complex and involve individual, family, community, and societal factors. Some of these factors interact to increase risk (perpetrator) or reduce the risk of violence (protective). A lawyer can provide legal advice which is professional and formal. They will analyze a set of facts and give an opinion about how the law applies to that situation. They can consult laws, previous case settlements, and federal and state regulations to come up with their advice. They can also discuss their opinions with colleagues and other attorneys to get further insight into a specific situation. They can even offer referrals to other professionals.

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Manisha Puri

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