Domestic violence can have a tremendous impact on individuals, families and communities, including those accused of domestic violence. Because of how extensive the impact of domestic violence allegations and charges can be, it is helpful to understand what is considered domestic violence.

Physical violence is most commonly associated with domestic violence but it is not the only type of violence that is included in the definition of domestic violence. Domestic violence charges may refer to:

  • Physical abuse: physical abuse that may be considered domestic violence can include hitting, punching, slapping, biting, battering, shoving, burning, cutting, pinching and pulling hair. It can generally include any violent physical behavior.
  • Sexual abuse: sexual abuse includes sexual contact or sexual behavior without consent. This can include marital rape or other sexual violence.
  • Emotional abuse: emotional abuse includes demeaning behaviors that diminish self- esteem or self-worth.
  • Economic abuse: economic abuse includes creating financial reliance that can be used to maintain control.
  • Psychological abuse: psychological abuse can include fear and intimidation and threats to injure. It can also include isolation.
  • Stalking and cyberstalking: stalking can include spying, watching, harassing and other unwanted forms of contact. Cyberstalking can include online or email activity that harasses or causes emotional distress.
  • Who does domestic violence apply to: Domestic violence can include violence between spouses; intimate partners and dating partners; family members; cohabitants and violence against children. It is not limited to one group or another.

In addition, specific domestic violence laws can vary by state so it is helpful for individuals who are facing domestic violence charges to be familiar with the charges they are facing. It is also helpful for them to be aware that different legal resources are available to help anyone impacted by domestic violence.