Domestic violence refers to violent or abusive acts committed by one family or household member against another, such as child abuse or spousal abuse. Domestic violence can refer to physical harm, or behavior that is controlling, coercive, or threatening. It can occur in any kind of intimate relationship — married or unmarried, straight or gay, living together, or simply dating.
Domestic violence (sometimes called “spousal abuse”) usually involves:
- Repetitive physical and psychological abuse
- A “cycle of violence”
Specific crimes charged vary based on:
- The severity of the victim’s injuries
- Whether a minor was present
- Whether a protective or restraining order was violated
Anyone can become a domestic violence offender or victim. While rape and murder can be forms of domestic violence, most often domestic violence consists of lesser forms of physical abuse such as slapping and pushing. Stalking can also be a form of domestic violence.