26Jan, 2020

Does Substance Abuse “Cause” Domestic Violence in North Carolina?
Posted By: Schlosser & Pritchett

Does Substance Abuse "Cause" Domestic Violence in North Carolina?

Domestic violence is an unfortunate reality for many people. It is a problem with a frequency that touches every demographic in America, affecting millions of lives each year. Because of this, the North Caroline criminal justice system takes accusations of abuse seriously. 

Punitive measures against serial abusers are an important part of curbing the epidemic…but so is getting to the root cause of the behavior. 

One common reason given for abuse is an addiction. The claim is that if someone is addicted to a substance, that addiction can cause them to lash out with violence. Is it that simple, though, or is addiction simply a convenient scapegoat?

A Link Between Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence in NC

Sometimes, when something seems to make so much sense, scientific studies are warranted — just to make sure. That is why multiple organizations have done studies on the potential connection between substance abuse and domestic violence. Those studies show the evidence that substance abuse causes domestic violence is weak. After all, correlation does not equal causation.

US Department of Justice Study Says the Link Can’t Be Proven

One study, funded by the US Department of Justice, found “the application of strict scientific causality criteria to the research literature on alcohol, drugs, and violence leads to the conclusion that it cannot be concluded that alcohol and drug use are causally related to violence.”

National Center on Domestic Violence Study Looks for Other Causes

Another important study on the subject was conducted through the National Center on Domestic Violence Trauma and Mental Health. This study concluded that the association of domestic violence and substance abuse is the result of complex societal processes. 

Furthermore, it found that substance abuse itself does not directly cause partner abuse. This conclusion is important because it points to other factors that might instigate domestic violence, instead.

In North Carolina, Domestic Violence Isn’t Always What You Picture

There is a common misconception that domestic violence is always perpetrated by a man against his female partner. Another assumption is that it is always violent, or at least screaming and throwing things. That is simply not the case. 

One key finding of all of these studies is that domestic violence is not addiction- or gender-segregated. Remember, abuse does not need to be physical. It can be emotional, financial, or social as well. 

Sometimes abusers are attracted to those suffering from addiction issues because it makes them vulnerable. Similarly, smaller partners can abuse larger ones, younger spouses can abuse older ones, and same-sex partners aren’t immune to abusive tendencies either.

All genders faced increased domestic violence and sexual aggression when substance abuse was involved in the relationship. What’s more, the partner suffering from addiction is not always the aggressor

Ultimately, the legal standard is that the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; being intoxicated might cause suspicion, but it legally should not affect a verdict. 

Greensboro Domestic Violence Lawyer

Regardless of whether you have an addiction problem, you shouldn’t have to suffer abuse or unfounded abuse allegations. You deserve to keep your record clear, no matter your addiction status. If you are facing domestic violence charges tempered by substance use or abuse, you deserve the chance to make your case. Reach out to an experienced North Carolina domestic violence attorney for advice.