Domestic Violence: Pressing Charges on the Behalf of a Victim

If you know that someone is a victim of domestic violence, but he or she has not reported it to the police or a family law attorney (or doesn’t want to do it), then you have the option of pressing charges on behalf of the victim or consulting family law resources with the community.

Domestic Violence Ribbon – Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness (Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0)

When you decide that you are going to press charges against the abuser on behalf of the domestic violence victim, the case will sometimes go forward with the help of a prosecuting agency or the attorney.

In some cases, the victim will be subpoenaed to testify under oath, whether they want to do it or not. In other cases, the prosecuting attorney may proceed to trial without the victim’s testimony.

To get started, you will need to file a crime report with the local police in the victim’s jurisdiction. The detective who is assigned to the case will contact you about the details and how to proceed.

You should also reach out to a lawyer who specializes in family law disputes, such as domestic violence. In San Diego, the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) provides referrals to local family law attorneys and has a Modest Means Program to help low-income clients pay for attorney services.

The lawyer will ask you for details about what you have witnessed and ask you to provide any evidence that applies to the case. Typically, the lawyer works with law enforcement to bring a case against the abuser.

For more information about addressing the cycle of domestic violence, visit the LRIS page on abusive relationships or look up family law resources in the community.

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