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COVID-19 Quarantines Are Leading to More Domestic Abuse Accusations, Murder Charges

Americans are experiencing radical changes in their lives as city, county and state-level politicians continue to order more people to quarantine in their homes amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. 

While the quarantine will help flatten the curve when it comes to COVID-19, staying at home is creating other unfortunate stresses in people’s lives. Allegations of domestic abuse continue to rise as people are forced to be at home longer.

Crystal Justice, who oversees development at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, told the Associated Press that more than 700 people called the hotline within a week, citing COVID-19 as a “condition of their experience.” Hotline workers report listening to stories about abusers preventing their partners from going to work or denying them access to safety measures like gloves and soap. 

“An abuser will use anything in their toolbox to exert their power and control, and COVID-19 is one of those tools,” Justice said.

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office says it’s seen a 35% increase in domestic violence cases this month, compared to March 2019.

In hand with more domestic abuse allegations, police are beginning to report incidents of murder stemming from at-home violence. One Channelview woman is accused of fatally shooting her husband during a “domestic-violence type situation,” according to the Houston Chronicle. The newspaper notes it could be the first killing in an alleged domestic violence-related death since Harris County enacted the COVID-19 stay-at-home order.

Acting in self-defense is a defense that can be used in murder cases. You could argue for charges less severe than murder, if it can be proven the defendant didn’t intend to kill the victim. Any physical harm or damages that was done to the person could lead to simple or aggravated assault.   

Even a simple altercation at home can lead to allegations of domestic assault. Texas defines family violence as an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. 

 Whether you are accused of domestic assault or a victim, Horak Law understands a domestic violence allegation is a politically charged topic, no matter what the actual events that transpired. Working with an aggressive criminal defense attorney who is experienced defending those accused of domestic violence can help protect your rights, ensuring your case is tried on facts.

Contact Horak Law at (713)225-8000 or contact us on our website today to learn what we can do for your case.  

 

 

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Matt Horak Matt Horak is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2014