Attorneys, The Community, and Significant Other Domestic Violence by Bo Murphy

Currently, in one of my classes, we are discussing the saddening topic of significant other domestic violence from the attorney’s perspective. While it is easy for the attorney to disconnect and go home to their lives, it is not so much for the one’s living this hell. No individual should have to live in fear of their significant other, and more than that, no child should have to vehemently fear their parent.

Talking to some of the people in my class, they have stated that they will never have anything to do with this field of law, even if they do family law, they stated they would not do it. I asked: “Why?” These abused individuals need help, sometimes the best help, to prove their case, in fact, some of the time they will be at an economic disadvantage from the significant other. So, I asked them why they would run from the ones that need help the most – they answered that basically it was too emotionally charged and they did not want to get in the middle of someone’s private life. I hate to surprise my colleagues, but, we are going to be attorneys, getting in the middle of people’s lives is going to be our job, whether your in bankruptcy, criminal or family, it does not matter.

Thankfully, our state has a number of laws in place to protect these victims of needless violence, though, who will assist these people in bringing suits against the abusers under these laws, if competent attorneys do not? No one.

In this short blog, I have been sure to keep the parties gender neutral. While, traditionally, we think of domestic violence as a man abusing a woman, as society has progressed, abusive relationships have been reported which involve a woman abusing the man. However, there is still a deeply engrained stereotype that for a man to report violence would make him appear to be weak, a stereotype that needs to be erased for the greater good, because domestic violence is a community crime, not just a domestic one. Anyone in a domestic abuse relationship with a child is implanting the notion into the impressionable young mind of the child that aggression is acceptable. In fact, research has shown a correlation between children raised in an abusive household, and their future disposition to abuse their future partners.

While domestic abuse, thankfully, is not rampant in our society, it is something that all significant others should be aware of and knowledgeable that some attorneys and counselors are devoted to their wellbeing. Their wellbeing is what should be most important, the individual’s person is what is most important to them, supreme to everything else and there are people here to ensure that.