What Is Domestic Violence and Can an Expert Witness Help in Court?

Courtroom — Waukegan, IL — Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC

Domestic violence court cases can be hard to win because, without documented evidence, they turn into a “he said, she said” situations. Sometimes those who fall victim to domestic violence often do not have the resources or freedom to report or document any evidence or disturbances.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Women fall victim to domestic violence situations more often than men, but domestic abuse does still happen to men. Today’s society tends to ridicule or look down on the men who fall victim because domestic violence is most often seen as physical abuse. However, this is not always the case. While domestic violence does refer to the physical abuse of an intimate partner (of any gender), it also refers to mental, emotional, or financial abuse.

What Is Mental, Emotional, and Financial Abuse?

Mental and emotional abuse occurs when a partner uses gaslighting, manipulation, humiliation, etc.

The abusive partner may do some of the following to inflict mental or emotional damage on you:

  • Threaten to hurt themself or others if you don’t comply
  • Belittle or degrade you in front of others
  • Make up unnecessary lies
  • Call you names
  • Insist something didn’t happen to make you seem crazy
  • Place the blame on you for everything
  • Make your needs seem unimportant or too much
  • Insist that you shouldn’t see your friends and family as much/at all

Financial abuse occurs when the abusive partner takes control over your shared or individual finances.

Examples of financial abuse include:

  • Using your money or credit cards without asking first
  • Cutting off your control or access to your own funds
  • Expecting you to pay their bills or bail them out of debt
  • Claiming to make payments in your name but never actually doing so
  • Borrowing money without paying you back
  • Insisting you quit your job

When domestic violence is mental, emotional, or financial, it can also be more difficult to prove in court because the bruises and marks that are left are not always visible to the naked eye. Cases like these will require the assistance of a domestic violence expert witness.

What Is an Expert Witness?

An expert witness is someone who testifies during a case for the defense or the prosecution. Expert witnesses are required to have ample training, experience, or education in the subject of the case. For example, you would not ask a first-year surgical resident to testify on a medical malpractice case. You would want an attending surgeon who has performed the procedure hundreds of times.

Domestic Violence Expert Witnesses

Domestic violence expert witnesses can help with more than just testifying in court.

If you’re going through a domestic violence case and are consulting with an expert witness, the expert witness can help with some of the following:

  • Preparing the domestic violence survivor for the stand
  • Assisting with jury selection
  • Educating the court on the effects of domestic violence situations

Your domestic violence expert witness will be able to answer the questions from the prosecution and/or defense with the information they have learned through experience or through their work and studies. The big question in domestic violence cases is, “Why didn’t they leave?” The expert witness will outline for the court the effects that certain abuse (physical, mental, financial, etc.) can have on a survivor.

Benefits of a Domestic Violence Expert Witness

Having an expert witness testify in a domestic violence case can make a huge difference. Without the expert witness, the judge/jury may not understand the obstacles a survivor has to overcome to leave an abusive relationship. They can explain to the court that the abuse the survivor endured was not an accident and that the abusive partner intentionally put the survivor through it.

If you’re looking to leave an abusive relationship and need the help of a qualified attorney, contact us at Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC today. Domestic violence cases can be difficult, but we will be by your side every step of the way!

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