Is domestic violence always physical?

When most people think about domestic violence, they envision a couple who can't keep their conflicts within normal boundaries of fair disagreement and one party or the other resorts to physical violence. However, legal charges stemming from domestic violence may involve many more things than more physical violence between partners or family members.

Domestic violence does include many kinds of violent behavior against one or more parties, such as one partner pushing, grabbing, hitting or slapping another party, for instance. However, this is not where domestic violence ends. It may also involve sexual assault, or a threat of violence if one party does not participate in some sexual activity.

Furthermore, domestic violence can include actions that are outside these categories. For instance, charges of domestic violence may arise from ongoing emotional abuse on the part of one or more parties. This is especially likely when it comes to parents mistreating children and emotionally abusing them.

Similarly, if one party holds economic freedom over another party's head, this may constitute domestic violence or abuse. In this scenario, one party uses the other's economic needs for food and shelter as leverage, making the other party dependent on the abuser in order to meet their most basic needs. This sort of "de facto slavery" is taken very seriously by the court.

You may find yourself facing charges that you did not expect if you are accused of these sorts of actions. An experienced attorney who understands how to navigate these difficult issues can defend your rights as you seek to resolve these difficult charges fairly.

Source: Findlaw, "Domestic Violence," accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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