Colorado law defines domestic violence as an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. But domestic violence affects more than just the victim. One isolated incident of domestic violence can impact many, and the effects may linger on for years – and even lifetimes.
Below, we’ve explored some of the effects of domestic violence on the different individuals involved in the crime.
The victim. Victims of domestic violence can be any gender, any age, and any race. The effects of being a target of abuse from a former partner or loved one can be devastating and long-lasting, and domestic violence victims often suffer trauma physically, mentally, and emotionally. In response to physical danger, victims may experience shock, dissociation, and other types of bodily responses while violence is occurring, and continue to experience these affects even after the incident has ended. Domestic violence also affects feelings, behaviors, and mental stability, and can lead to conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety.
The family. Even if children are not the direct target of a domestic violence crime, witnessing or even simply sensing hostility and fear between parents can have a tremendous impact on kids. Studies have found that children in families with a history of domestic abuse are likely to experience physical, emotional, and developmental harm. Children may become frightened, anxious, and withdrawn after seeing, hearing, or observing the aftermath of violent incidents between their parents. Studies have found that children exposed to domestic violence have a high risk for drug abuse and juvenile delinquency when they are older, and an increased risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of domestic violence as adults.
The actor. The victim and family are the true victims of a domestic violence crime, but the actor may suffer some tough consequences as well. In addition to feeling guilt, shame, and humiliation, the actor may be isolated from friends, family, and coworkers as they deal with legal repercussions and media backlash. Individuals who are convicted of domestic violence crimes may face prison time and heavy fines, and be barred from seeing their families or entering their homes. Domestic violence convicts will also be left with a permanent criminal record that may make it difficult for them to find work, obtain housing, pursue higher education, or take out a loan. Virtually anyone with a computer will be able to access their criminal record, making it difficult to move on with life and live normally.
The effects of a single domestic violence crime on victims and family member may endure for the rest of those individuals’ lives. Given the hugely destructive impact of the crime, it’s no wonder that Colorado law punishes domestic violence so harshly.
If you are facing domestic violence charges in Colorado, you are facing devastating repercussions to your freedom, career, and family life. Colorado law is tough on domestic violence crimes, and even the mere accusation of domestic violence against you could result in jail time, a protection order, and a lifelong criminal record.
Don’t gamble with your reputation and future—contact a Colorado domestic violence defense attorney if someone has accused you of domestic violence. Your criminal attorney can help you understand the charges against you and explain your options, before discussing possible strategies for your defense. With a skilled domestic violence lawyer, you may be able to have the charges against you reduced or dropped entirely.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.