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How is domestic violence legally defined?

Unfortunately, a large number of women still experience physical assault or sexual violence every day in this nation.

Understanding the definition of domestic violence can allow certain women to gain what they need to escape from potentially abusive situations.

A look at domestic violence

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence discusses how the law looks at domestic violence. First, how is domestic violence defined?

Intimidation, sexual and physical assault, battery and any other sort of abusive behavior used to gain control over a person all count as domestic violence. Psychological and physical trauma both often occur in domestic violence cases. Tragically, it may even lead to death.

Types of abuse

Common types of abuse include physical, sexual, emotional and psychological. Economic abuse also gained attention in recent years. This involves withholding access to money and controlling all of the money in a household, thus keeping a partner financially dependent and unable to leave.

Abusers may enact economic abuse in many different ways. For example, they might apply for credit cards or loans without the knowledge of the victim, use the credit cards, checkbooks or debit cards of the victim without their knowledge, block bank access, or sabotage their employment.

Though abuse of psychological, emotional or economic nature may seem harder to prove than abuse of physical nature, it is still possible to do so. Identifying abuse, documenting evidence where possible and contacting the proper authorities all act as great first steps for a potential domestic abuse survivor to take when fighting for his or her freedom and safety.