Few people will disagree that domestic violence is a serious crime. Someone who abuses a spouse or other family member asserts power and control, whether through emotional or psychological tactics or sheer physical strength.

Victims of domestic violence may suffer in silence because they feel powerless to escape or to change their situations. Because of this, laws err on the side of the victims whose lives are often in danger.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for those who understand the swift response of law enforcement to initiate a domestic violence call under false pretenses. You may be in such a circumstance. If your spouse or partner has accused you of domestic violence, you are right to be confused about what to do and concerned about your future.

Words you can’t take back

Common reasons why someone would accuse a spouse or partner of domestic abuse often involve other family law disputes.

If you and your partner are going through a breakup, a divorce or child custody battle, your partner quickly gains the upper hand if you have a domestic violence conviction on your record. Not only is your relationship with your children at risk, you may also lose your job, your home, and the support of your family and friends, not to mention facing criminal penalties.

False accusations of domestic violence are not easy to recognize because of the broad definitions of domestic violence. Even if police see no evidence of physical abuse, they must assume the abuse has occurred. Too often, those who are legitimately suffering at the hands of another will reach out for help then quickly recant because they fear retribution from their abusers.

Therefore, even if your accuser thinks better of it and tries to call off police, responding officers have no choice but to proceed with legal action.

Protecting yourself

It is not easy to know what to do if you are facing accusations of domestic abuse. However, taking any steps that others may interpret as violent or vengeful will only harm your case. It is wise to avoid attempts to contact your partner or return to the home even to retrieve your belongings. This is especially true if you are under a peace order.

Instead, take action to protect yourself, such as changing the passwords on any accounts to which your partner has access and reaching out for legal advice. An experienced Virginia attorney will provide you with the guidance and advocacy to aggressively fight the accusations against you, even if authorities have not officially filed charges.