Recent Texas Domestic Violence Statistics

Man in handcuffs facing domestic violence charges

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Domestic violence charges are serious legal matters that carry serious fines, penalties, and social consequences. Domestic violence is a significant concern in the State of Texas, and the related statistics back this statement up.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, protecting your rights is key, which means that it’s time to consult with an experienced Killeen criminal defense attorney.

The Charge of Domestic Violence

In Texas, the charge of domestic violence falls under the category of assault. The charge refers to knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally causing someone with whom you currently have or did have a romantic relationship, someone who is a member of your current or former romantic partner’s household, or someone who is a member of your family to experience any of the following consequences:

  • To suffer bodily injury

  • To feel threatened with imminent bodily harm

  • To find your physical contact offensive or provocative

The charge is elevated from simple assault to aggravated assault when the victim suffers bodily harm or when a deadly weapon is used in the commission of the domestic violence.

It is important to recognize that anything that can be used to harm another person seriously qualifies as a deadly weapon, including guns, bats, rope, large rocks, shoes, or just about anything else with enough heft or associated risk.

If you have been accused of domestic violence with or without a deadly weapon, a seasoned Killeen criminal defense attorney can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

Key Statistics in Texas

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) shares all the following sobering statistics regarding domestic violence in the State of Texas:

  • A full 40 percent of women in the State of Texas experience some form of intimate partner violence, intimate partner stalking, or both in their lifetimes. The same is true of 34.9 percent of men in the state.

  • In a recent year, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is estimated to have served more than 71,600 victims of domestic violence through various agencies they fund.

  • In a recent year, domestic violence hotlines fielded an estimated 281,816 emergency calls in Texas.

  • In a recent year, 150 women were killed in Texas by male romantic partners, 1 woman was killed by a female romantic partner, 31 men were killed by female romantic partners, and 3 men were killed by male romantic partners.

  • Of the above domestic violence homicides, firearms were used in 63 percent of the cases in which women were killed by men, in 68 percent of the cases in which men were killed by women, and in 50 percent of the cases in which same-sex partners were killed.

  • The number of women killed by male romantic partners using firearms increased from an average of 77 annually from 2010 to 2014 to an average of 96 annually from 2015 to 2019.

  • Of Texans aged between 16 and 24, 75 percent have experienced dating violence or know someone in their age group who has.

The Texas Advocacy Project shares the following additional statistics:

  • About a third of all sexual assaults in the state are committed by current or former romantic partners.

  • After pandemic-related lockdown orders were imposed in a recent year, the number of domestic violence incidents increased by more than 8 percent.

On a positive note, the Advocacy Project shares that protective orders issued by the state can reduce future violence with an efficacy rate of up to 80 percent.

The statistics are grim, and the state does not always have the services required to help all in need. Consider the following sobering statistics about those seeking help:

  • In a recent year in Texas, 48 percent of those seeking assistance in the form of shelter were denied help due to lack of space, which represents an increase of 28 percent over the prior year.

  • On a single day in a recent year, domestic violence shelters throughout Texas served nearly 6,000 victims and fielded more than 1,500 emergency calls. Of these, 948 requests for help went unmet due to inadequate resources.

The statistics for the nation at large are more concerning and include all the following reports:

  • In the United States, one in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of violence by a romantic partner.

  • In a recent year, domestic violence accounted for 20 percent of all violent crime in the nation.

  • In this country, 65 percent of all murder-suicides involve intimate partners, and a full 96 percent of the victims are female.

  • On a single day in a recent year, domestic violence hotlines throughout the country fielded 21,321 calls, which translates to almost 15 calls a minute.

  • When abusers have access to firearms, the risk that a female intimate partner will be killed increases by 1,000 percent – or 10 times.

Texas Firearm Laws as They Relate to Domestic Violence

While Texas is known for having liberal gun laws, they take the matter of gun possession in relation to domestic violence charges extremely seriously. Consider the following:

  • Anyone with a domestic violence misdemeanor on his or her record is banned from firearm possession for five years after being released from incarceration or after successfully completing community supervision.

  • Texas judges often require those addressed in protective orders to surrender their firearms as a form of protective relief for victims.

Domestic violence in the State of Texas is a very real concern. As such, if you are facing an accusation of domestic violence, you need to take it seriously. Work closely with a Killeen criminal defense attorney to help bring your case to its best possible resolution.

Domestic Violence Can Take Many Forms

Domestic violence generally does not refer to a few specific acts. Instead, it tends to reference a pattern of abuse that can take many different forms.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse – in and of itself – can take many forms that include pushing, kicking, slapping, biting, pulling or yanking hair, and punching. Spitting or throwing things at or towards the other person also qualifies – as does picking up something and using it as a weapon or threatening the other person with physical harm.

Any attempt to strangle one’s romantic partner is considered an especially dangerous form of domestic violence – for the physical risk it poses and the related statistical risk that the violence will continue to escalate.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse in the context of domestic violence generally involves forcing one’s partner to engage in sexual acts without consent. Exerting this form of control is sexual abuse that can lead to serious domestic violence charges.

Emotional Abuse

Domestic violence does not always leave its victims physically battered and beaten. Another form of domestic violence is emotional abuse, which is much more difficult to prove but can be exceptionally harmful. Emotional abuse is implemented as a means of controlling the other person, which is often achieved through fear and isolation.

Common examples of emotional abuse include the following behaviors:

  • Engaging in gaslighting techniques that are intended to make the other person feel as if he or she is losing grip on reality

  • Blaming the victim for the abuse he or she suffers

  • Consistently monitoring the other person’s activities – often without his or her knowledge

  • Controlling the other person’s appearance

  • Cheating on the other person as a means of asserting self-worth

  • Falsely accusing the other person of cheating

  • Interfering with the other person’s access to the love and support of family members and friends

Online Abuse

The internet has opened up the lines of communication in ways we never considered possible before, and it has also increased avenues of abuse that allow perpetrators to use their online soapboxes to harass, bully, stalk, intimidate, or control current or former romantic partners. As such, online abuse falls into the category of emotional abuse that is conducted electronically. Common examples include the following behaviors:

  • Constantly messaging the other person

  • Tracking the other person using digital technology

  • Monitoring and controlling the other person’s online presence

  • Messaging the other person in a threatening or insulting manner

  • Coercing the other person into exchanging nude photos

  • Taking over the other person’s phone

  • Co-opting the other person’s online identity, including taking over IDs and passwords

  • Posting embarrassing, unattractive, or unseemly photos of the other person

Once an ugly, demeaning, or otherwise derogatory post is out there, it is there to stay and can do irreparable damage.

Financial Abuse

In order to maintain agency over our own lives as adults, we need some level of financial independence, and financial abuse is designed to take that away. Prime examples of this form of abuse include all the following behaviors:

  • Taking the other person’s pay and not allowing him or her to access it

  • Putting the other person on an especially stringent allowance

  • Fraudulently using the other person’s credit cards or tanking his or her credit score

  • Stealing from the other person – or stealing from his or her friends, family members, or children

  • Closely monitoring the other person’s spending habits

  • Refusing to contribute to the cost of running the household

  • Forcing the other person to give up working outside the home or to accept only certain kinds of jobs

Whatever form the domestic abuse takes, it leaves the victim extremely vulnerable, and it tends to reinforce the idea that the victim has nowhere else to turn.

FAQ about Domestic Violence Charges

Consider the answers to the following frequently asked questions on the topic of domestic violence to help you better understand the significance of your own case.

What Should I Do If I’m Charged with Domestic Violence?

The single most important step anyone who has been charged with domestic violence can take is reaching out for the skilled legal guidance of a formidable Killeen criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible. Your skilled lawyer will ably take on all the following primary tasks to build your strongest defense and pursue your case’s most favorable resolution:

  • Gathering all the available evidence, including eyewitness testimony, physical evidence, and any exculpatory evidence (evidence that speaks to your innocence) that the authorities may have

  • Identifying an effective defense strategy that builds on the available evidence and bolsters your claim of innocence

  • Skillfully negotiating with the prosecution – optimally in pursuit of a dropped charge but, barring that, in pursuit of an advantageous plea deal

  • Ensuring that no evidence that was obtained outside the scope of your right to lawful search and seizure is admitted in the case against you

  • Preparing your case for trial when doing so is deemed the best path forward

Is It Necessary to Have a Criminal Defense Attorney?

There is far too much at stake when you are facing a domestic violence charge not to have professional legal counsel in your corner. Proceeding without a seasoned Killeen criminal defense attorney on your side is ill-advised at best.

How Can I Defend Myself against Domestic Violence Charges?

Domestic violence cases can feel like they are built on a foundation of one person’s word over another’s, but there is often more to it than that. Successful defense strategies in the face of domestic violence charges often hinge on the following matters:

  • There is a lack of corroborating evidence to support the charge against you

  • You didn’t have the necessary intent to cause harm

  • You were acting in self-defense against your accuser – who was attacking you

  • You were falsely accused to begin with

Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Domestic violence charges are especially serious and especially challenging, and if you’re facing such a charge, it’s time to take action. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard is a trusted Killeen criminal defense lawyer who harnesses his impressive experience and legal skill in response to every case he takes on, and he is standing by to help you.

Our well-respected legal team is committed to providing you with a solid defense that supports your case’s optimal outcome, and we encourage you to reach out and contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222 to schedule your FREE consultation and learn more about what we can do for you today.

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