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Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence occurs in all walks of life: rich, poor, black, white, same-sex relationships, etc. In years past, poor excuses were made for incidents of abuse, and they were kept secret within the home. Today, there is a still a great deal that goes unreported, but an effort is being made to acknowledge that family violence is a problem that must be stopped.

Most people, however, are unclear of what domestic violence is, or how to recognize it's danger signs. Definitions can vary from state to state; as well as the authority of law enforcement in their response. The Garden City Police Department has therefore provided this page so that you may have a clear understanding of domestic violence in Georgia.

The State of Georgia defines Family Violence as (§OCGA 19-13-1):

“... the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household:

  1. Any felony; or
  2. Commission of offenses of battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass.”

This law does not preclude you from defending yourself in an attack. It is meant to give law enforcement the authority to arrest and prosecute the primary aggressor.

The law continues to say:

“The term ‘family violence’ shall not be deemed to include reasonable discipline administered by a parent to a child in the form of corporal punishment, restraint, or detention.”

Although children may be punished with corporal punishment, they can be victims of domestic violence if such corporal punishment is not “reasonable discipline.” Children who witness their parents engaged in a domestic dispute may also be considered victims of family violence and cruelty to children.

The State of Georgia authorizes law enforcement officers to arrest (without a warrant) the primary aggressor at the scene of a family violence dispute. Such arrest, and prosecution, may be made without the consent of the victim. This authority was granted because many victims are reluctant to follow through with legal action against their abusers. The cycle of violence then continues.

The Garden City Police Department takes an affirmative stance against family violence in all forms. Should a primary aggressor be identified, an arrest will most likely be made.