Georgia law uses the term “family violence” instead of domestic violence. According to the law, family violence can occur between family members or unmarried partners.
The goal of the Georgia criminal code is to protect victims from physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
What the law prohibits
The law specifically prohibits the following acts:
- Criminal property damage
- Criminal trespass
- Unlawful restraint
Additionally, committing any felony may constitute family violence. It is worth noting that the law does not prohibit reasonable parental discipline in the form of detention, restraint or corporal punishment.
A person who claims to be a victim of violence may request a protective order from a superior court. An individual may also file such a petition on behalf of a minor. The petition must claim that the petitioner or the child is a victim of at least one instance of family violence. If the court issues a protective order, it places strict limitations on the abuser. A protective order can order the abuser to stay away from the victim, force the abuser to leave the house and give possession to the victim, give the victim temporary custody of children and order the abuser to attend counseling.
Instances of family violence may result in criminal charges of varying degrees. Assault and battery are misdemeanor charges that are punishable by significant jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.
According to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, an offender may attend a Family Violence Intervention Program. This is a 24-week program with the purpose of rehabilitating the abuser and protecting the victim.