Alcohol use and domestic violence often go hand-in-hand. Although abuse is not caused by addiction, when someone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs it can make them much more prone to losing control or acting on violent urges. Whether you are a victim of abuse or have been accused of domestic violence, it is important to understand how alcohol use may impact your case. An experienced domestic violence lawyer can help you make sense of it all, and advise you of the best course of action to protect yourself and/or your children.
Correlation Between Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Violence
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 55% of people who commit domestic abuse did so while drinking. In addition, women who experience domestic violence are up to 15 times more likely to use alcohol.
A study conducted by the University of Minnesota showed that people who are already predisposed to violent behavior may also be more susceptible to substance abuse. Specifically, children who grow-up in households where domestic violence and alcohol are prevalent may be at greater risk of becoming abusers and/or substance users later in life.
Distorted Perceptions Can Lead to Violence
Alcohol affects one’s ability to perceive, integrate and process information. Although distorted perceptions and poor judgment are not causes of domestic violence, they increase the risk that the user will misunderstand another’s behavior. This is true for the abuser and the victim if they are both drinking.
If you are in an abusive relationship, finding an affordable divorce attorney who can help you obtain a protection from abuse order is one way to extricate yourself from the situation. An experienced family lawyer can also provide vital support that empowers you to take action and break the cycle of abuse and addiction.
Similarities Between Alcohol Addiction and Domestic Violence
Domestic abuse and alcohol addiction have common symptoms that may be managed with the right kind of treatment. These include:
- Continuing to take part in negative behaviors despite undesirable consequences
- Feelings of shame and guilt as a result of the behaviors
- Denying or lying about involvement in the behaviors
- Loss of control
- Escalation or worsening of the behaviors over time
When alcohol use and domestic violence are co-occurring, the likelihood of dangerous—even
Fatal— consequences increases. Intoxication can result in an abuser being unaware of the severity of the damage he/she is causing to a victim. On the other hand, if a victim is under the influence, they may be unable to recognize their injuries or ask for help. Regardless of which role each person plays, both domestic violence and alcohol abuse cause deep feelings of shame that often keep people from seeking help. If you have been charged with domestic violence, your criminal defense lawyer can help you get the resources you need to find treatment for addiction and other behavioral health issues.
How a Family Law Attorney Can Help
Domestic violence can impact divorce and custody matters as well. If you have children, it’s important to find the best child custody lawyer you can. An attorney can assess your case, advise of your options, and help protect your rights.