What does domestic violence mean under the law?

Updated: Jan 25

If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you may be feeling confused. You don’t believe that you engaged in any behavior that was violent, so you might be adamant that you are not guilty. While it could be that you were falsely accused of domestic violence, you should understand that domestic violence has a very broad legal definition.


You can be guilty of domestic violence even if you were not physically abusive. Therefore, before defending yourself against an accusation of domestic violence, you should understand the four different types of domestic violence that can be alleged to have occurred.


Physical abuse


Any allegations of physically violent behavior against someone you live with or someone in your family can count as domestic violence. This includes hitting, shoving, biting, and slapping.


Sexual abuse


Any allegations of sexual coercion made against a family member or a person in your household counts as domestic abuse. Depending on the act, it could also could as rape.


Emotional abuse


Emotional abuse is one of the most pervasive types of domestic violence. If it’s alleged that you manipulated a person and undermined their self-worth in a systematic way, this could count as domestic abuse.


Economic abuse


Everyone should have the freedom to live life on their own terms. If a spouse or partner alleges that you tried to control them and limited their financial freedom so as to control what they do and who they see, this is an example of domestic abuse.


If you have been accused of domestic abuse but you believe that you are not guilty, it is important that you gather information to support your defense and that you take action to clear your name.

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