When most people think of domestic violence, they usually envision an escalated encounter or argument between a man and a woman, but this kind of violence can erupt between anyone. Physical violence and harm in the form of threats, stalking and harassment isn’t just illegal, it is morally wrong.

Greg Abbott, gubernatorial candidate and the attorney general for Texas, agrees. Abbott appeared in Houston last Wednesday to announce the apprehension of 31 Houston domestic violence fugitives in a sweep that that lasted from Feb. 18 until Feb. 16.The Harris County district attorney, appeared with Abbott, reporting that the DA’s office filed over 10,000 cases of domestic violence last year. She went on to say that while that number sounds high, it represents the amount filed in previous years as well.

One subject apprehended in the domestic violence sweep had physically assaulted his sister’s boyfriend before brandishing a gun and making more threats of violence. Authorities arrested the subject last Friday in Kingwood on charges of aggravated assault of a family member. His actions represent the kind of physical abuse that put him and others like him on Harris County’s most wanted list. It’s cases like this that brought Abbott to Houston in person, which has the worst domestic violence death rate in the entire state.

America’s legal system offers a degree of protection for victims of domestic abuse and violence by way of a permanent protective order or a temporary restraining order, and in some cases, jail time. We all have the right to live life without fear of violence, but if the unthinkable occurs, the first step to safety is reporting all instances of violence and domestic assault. Victims can pursue justice alone, but having a trusted attorney file a domestic violence complaint on their behalf is often the safest way to proceed.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “Abbott, Houston DA announce domestic violence sweep” Brian Rogers, Feb. 26, 2014