One of the most degrading, confusing yet frightening events that could happen to an individual is to experience violence and abuse at the hands of someone you love and who claims to love you. This situation is what domestic violence law seeks to prevent.
The law provides criminal rules as a means to punish individuals who have caused either physical or emotional harm to people with whom they share a bond, be it familial, or just close relationship.
It also includes civil protections made available to the victims of this injustice. Domestic Violence can be handled under both Federal and State Laws.
The most notable federal law passed on the issue of domestic violence is the Violence Against Women Act.
Congress of the United States passed this bill in 1994, and it was supplemented in 1996 to create programs and fund them to help protect the victims of domestic violence.
The act changed the laws of immigration to allow already violated spouses to apply for permanent residency in the country without their abusive spouses, provided the spouse is a citizen or has permanent residency.
It also established a hotline for national domestic violence, amongst others.
VAWA also sought to encourage the implementation of the policies by both state authorities and local authorities to protect the victims of domestic violence better.
The laws concerning domestic violence in States happen to be different; even the definitions of some of them are different.
Some states require there to be physical abuse alone, while some require emotional, financial, and psychological damage to complete the definition.
Several states have adopted preferred arrest policies that require the police to arrest either one or both parties at the scene of domestic violence or write a report that justifies their decision not to make an arrest.