Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Is Domestic Violence?

What Is Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can be defined as any behavior that has the purpose of gaining control and power over a family member, partner or someone you are in a relationship with. Contrary to the belief of some it is not caused by mental issues, alcohol, drugs or anger but is a learned behavior. Read on to learn more.

Domestic violence is so common it represents a major health issue in the US. The more you understand what can be defined as domestic violence, the easier it is to take meaningful action against it.

It is possible abusers may not think their actions represent domestic violence. Conversely, their victims may not realize this either. If other loved ones and friends can recognize this it may help. Hence, it is vital to comprehend the many forms of domestic violence and to be able to clearly define it.

The United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women definition for domestic violence is “A pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner.”

Let’s look at some of the forms domestic violence can take:


This may include slapping, biting, shoving, battering, hitting, pulling hair, punching, pinching, cutting ot burning on a victim. It may also include denying someone needed medical treatment and forcing alcohol or drugs on to them.


When a person attempts to or coerces another person into sexual behavior or sexual contact without the person agreeing to consent. This may include the attack of genitalia, physical violence often followed by marital rape or sex being forced upon a person, telling sexual jokes at the expense of the other person and sexually demeaning that person.


Broadly, this is when the abuser purposefully deflates or invalidates another person’s sense of self-esteem or self-worth. This can range from name-calling to persistent criticism, interfering with the abilities of a person and causing harm and injury to the relationship that person has with their children.


When an abuser makes another person reliant on them from a financial standpoint. By taking total control of all financial resources and then withholding monies when needed. They may also prohibit the person from attending work or school.


This includes involving fear in a person through threats of a physical nature, intimidation, threats to harm the person, their children of family, friends or pets as well as property destruction and intentional isolation from their support network as well as blocking the person from attending work or school.


This may include following a person, harassing, spying, watching, arriving at the work or home of the person, collecting information about them, sending gifts, leaving written messages or making phone calls. While these acts individually are not illegal – when done on a continual basis can represent a stalking crime.


This is action performed online that can cause a great deal of emotional distress who is constantly contacted by email or other online mediums.

Definition Of Victims

Victims can be any person of any education level, socioeconomic background, age, sexual orientation, race, gender or religion. Domestic violence definitions recognize that victim may be cohabitants, children, family members, spouses, dating partners and sexual (intimacy) partners.

Dating Violence

Dating violence as defined by The Violence Against Women Act depends on the relationship between the abuser and the victim determined by the following:

  • The type of relationship
  • The relationship length
  • The frequency of interaction between the partners

Does the Definition of Domestic Violence Apply to You?

As you can see a domestic violence definition includes various forms of abuse and should be recognized as a crime that is destructive but is also the cause of life-altering damage to everyone involved in the situation. If you are confused or have questions about domestic violence and your situation, a domestic violence attorney can help you.

Source: “What Is the Definition of Domestic Violence?” Findlaw, 3 Oct. 2018, family.findlaw.com/domestic-violence/what-is-domestic-violence.html

Contact Our Domestic Violence Attorneys In Scottsdale, AZ

Our domestic violence attorneys in Scottsdale can help with restraining orders and orders of protection. We will ensure thorough preparation of your restraining order or order of protection, or defense from DV allegations levelled against you, and help you resolve legal issues that inevitably arise.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *