Domestic Violence

Domestic violence law focuses on areas of family and partner abuse. It provides the criminal rules for punishing those who cause emotional or physical harm to others with whom they share a family or other close relationship.

It also deals with the civil protections available to victims of this type of harm. Federal legislation has been enacted making domestic violence a crime, most notably the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). However, the vast majority of domestic violence offenses are prosecuted under state law.

Domestic violence lawyers spend their careers either in direct service helping clients affected by domestic violence or in policy helping write legislation and regulations that advocate on behalf of abused persons. Though domestic violence work has traditionally occurred in the U.S. legal system, a growing number of lawyers are focusing on preventing domestic violence around the world. DV lawyers typically work in nonprofit organizations or in the government with the Department of Justice or State Attorney General’s offices.