More Women Arrested for Domestic Assault in Dallas with The First Battered Men’s Shelter in the Country?
This summer, Dallas made history with the opening of the first Battered Men’s Shelter in the United States. This is a facility designed to help men who are victims of domestic violence and assault, just as battered women’s shelters have done for years.
Dallas Opens First Battered Men’s Shelter in the Country
This new men’s facility is located at The Family Place, a shelter for victims of domestic violence since 1978. The Battered Men’s Shelter offers bed and private rooms for 21 men (and there are accommodations for their kids, too). Their services are free.
This means our North Texas community is acknowledging that men as well as women can be victims of family violence and domestic assault. It also means husbands, roommates, and boyfriends are being encouraged to come forward and get help in escaping an abusive situation.
Movement for Men to Come Forward as Victims of Family Violence
What’s happening here? There is a growing national call for abused men to seek help as victims of family violence.
It’s known there are many situations of family violence where it’s not the woman who is victimized. See, for instance, the HuffPo piece entitled, “It’s Time to Acknowledge Male Victims of Domestic Violence,” written by Bari Zell Weinberger, Esq., and published on October 15, 2016.
According to the National Counsel Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), the problem of women assaulting and abusing men is much bigger than many may realize; their fact sheet includes the following:
- 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by their intimate partner (slapped, shoved, pushed);
- 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused by their intimate partner (hit, kicked, slammed against something, burned, etc.);
- 1 in 10 men have been raped, stalked, or experienced physical violence;
- While most male rape victims reportedly have male perpetrators, half of all stalkers are female and most of the other forms of physical abuse involved female perpetrators.
More Women Will Be Arrested and Charged as Perpetrators
From a criminal defense perspective, this means more women will be accused as the abusers in these situations. We are going to be seeing more women labelled as abusers and perpetrators of family violence now.
And that means more women – wives, girlfriends, family members – are going to be arrested and charged for family violence and domestic assault here in Dallas and Fort Worth and the surrounding communities of North Texas.
Defending Women Accused of Domestic Assault and Family Violence
For women who are arrested on family violence or domestic assault charges here in Texas, their criminal defense has to address the reality that women will be treated differently than men in these cases.
1. Twisted Self-Defense
In some instances, the woman who is arrested for family violence and the physical assault of her husband, boyfriend, or significant other has taken action in order to protect herself and/or her children or pets.
In these domestic violence scenarios, the woman is painted as the abuser when she is really someone who was victimized. Manipulative abusers who are savvy about the criminal justice system can turn things around, lying and playing the police officers who come to the scene.
See, e.g., “How Some Men Are Upending Domestic Violence Laws to Scam an Advantage in Divorce,” by Jeff Landers and published in Forbes on May 22, 2012.
2. Past Criminal History and History of Controlling Behavior
Another consideration in defending a woman who has been accused of family violence or domestic assault is her past criminal history. Has she been arrested before? If so, were these charges for crimes of violence? And, was she acting alone, or (more often) was she supporting a man who was also charged and arrested for the incident?
A woman with no prior history of criminal charges or acts of violence should be given serious consideration by the prosecution on the charges that will be filed.
Domestic violence and family assault are situations where the perpetrator seeks to control the victim; the lack of past charges may suggest that the woman is not prone to forcing others to get what she wants. What’s the underlying story in her case?
See, e.g., Ferreira, Regardt J., and Frederick P. Buttell. “Can a “Psychosocial Model” Help Explain Violence Perpetrated by Female Batterers?.” Research on social work practice 26.4 (2016): 362-371.
3. Police Officer Bias
Another consideration is the attitude and potential bias of law enforcement that arrives at the scene and decides on the arrest. With more women are being arrested for family violence and domestic assault, there is a possibility the officer will have an itch to arrest females who are loud and aggressive, or they may favor the male who finger points without sufficient investigation into whether or not he is telling the truth.
See, e.g, The Influence of Victim Vulnerability and Gender on Police Officers’ Assessment of Intimate Partner Violence Risk. Storey JE, Strand S.J Fam Violence. 2017; 32(1):125-134. Epub 2016 Dec 24.
4. Other Defenses for Women Arrested for Family Violence
For women facing family violence charges here in Texas, the legal defenses available to them will be the same as a man who is accused and charged with family violence or domestic assault. These include:
- Lack of intent (intent is a key element of the crime to be proven by the prosecutor);
- Defense of Self;
- Defense of Others (including minor children);
- Defense of Property (including pets); and
- Victim Recants His Allegations.
Woman Arrested for Family Violence or Domestic Assault in Dallas or North Texas
For any woman that has been arrested for Family Violence or Domestic assault involving her husband, boyfriend, roommate, or other alleged male victim, it’s vital to have a criminal defense strategy in place as soon as possible.
Cases of women being accused of violence bear special investigation and consideration by the police and the prosecutors. This may or may not happen without a zealous defense lawyer assisting in the case.
Finally, women arrested in these situations may face serious felony charges that can result in significant jail time. It’s important that any female who is arrested on a family violence charge recognize that this is a serious life event and she needs to act fast and proactively to defend against them.
For more information, check out our web resources, read Michael Lowe’s Case Results, read his in-depth article, “TOP 10 MISTAKES DEFENDING TEXAS FAMILY VIOLENCE CASES,” as well as:
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