What is considered to be domestic violence?

You have heard the term “domestic violence” and, like many people, you probably think of acts of physical violence when you hear this. While physical abuse does indeed constitute domestic violence, many other types of acts against a spouse/partner fall under this category. This includes acts that deal emotional, psychological, social, or financial damage.

Understanding domestic violence is important so that you can recognize what behaviors you are protected from by law and how you can protect yourself and/or your children if you face these types of acts.


Physical abuse is one form of domestic violence, and it’s often what we think when we hear that term. But did you know that the threat of physical harm is also domestic violence? Even if the offender hasn’t actually harmed anyone yet, threatening to hurt or kill your children, friends, pets, or other loved ones is still a case of domestic violence. This includes verbal threats, such as telling you they’re going to hurt someone if you don’t do what they say, and intimidation with weapons.

Sexual abuse or coercion is also a physical attack. If your partner/spouse forces you or pressures you into sexual activities against your will, they have committed an act of domestic violence.


Your emotional and mental well-being are also protected by law. Domestic violence includes actions that damage on the psychological level, which can be a huge range of acts, from shaming the target and telling them they’re a bad person to controlling all of the target’s decisions. Emotional/psychological acts of domestic violence are often marked by the offender attempting to control their target and make the target feel ashamed and worthless if they don’t obey.


Social attacks are usually very closely linked to emotional and psychological ones, marked by a manipulative jealous attitude. Social violence takes the form of controlling who the target is allowed to see, where they go, and what they do during their day. Often in social attacks, offenders especially manipulate the target away from seeing friends and family, or they act very jealous of any time the target spends with friends and family instead of them.

Social violence can also include incidents of stalking or keeping track of where the victim is at all times.


Manipulation of the target’s money or sabotage of their ability to make money is a financial case of domestic violence. Offenders might control what the target can buy, use the target’s money without asking, damage the target’s property, or even prevent/hinder the target’s ability to go to work or perform well on the job. All of these actions are considered domestic violence.

What do I do if I’ve been targeted by any of these acts?

Offenders of domestic violence are not limited to one of these areas. They may commit many or all of the acts listed here but, no matter what form the domestic violence takes, it is illegal and you are protected from it. If any of this has happened to you, contact an attorney right away to seek help and learn about your options.

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