Domestic violence can have a broad impact on those who are affected by it. Because of that reality, it is helpful for any family impacted by domestic violence, and those facing allegations of domestic abuse, to be familiar with what is considered domestic violence under the law.

Different types of domestic violence

The various types of domestic violence can be categorized as follows:

  • Physical abuse – physical abuse is the most widely-known type of domestic abuse which can include punching, pinching, kicking, hitting, shoving, slapping and other forms of physical violence.
  • Sexual abuse – sexual abuse includes coerced or forced sexual contact without consent. It can also refer to marital rape.
  • Emotional abuse – emotional abuse usually impacts self-esteem and self-worth in a negative manner.
  • Psychological abuse – psychological abuse can include the use of intimidation, fear and threats typically aimed at obtaining control.
  • Economic abuse – economic abuse typically seeks to create financial reliance which can also be aimed at maintaining control.
  • Threats and stalking – threats, stalking and cyberstalking can all be considered domestic violence behaviors.

Domestic violence can occur between spouses, cohabitants, intimate partners, family members and children. Different areas of the legal system provide protections for anyone impacted, or involved with, domestic violence. Criminal law serves as a resource for accused individuals facing domestic violence allegations and charges.

What may happen and what you can do

Domestic violence charges can result in criminal penalties, as well as the possibility that the accused individual will be unable to return to their family home or see their children. Because of the serious nature of domestic violence charges, those accused should understand what is included in the definition and how they can protect themselves. Domestic violence can impact individuals, families, communities and society as a whole which is why legal resources are available to address the concerns of anyone impacted by domestic violence.