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What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is a Crime
Domestic Violence is not a "family problem." It is a crime. You have the right to be safe. No one has the right to hit, threaten, or abuse you. Children are also hurt by seeing domestic violence. Since domestic violence is a crime, the State brings the charges. You are the victim of the crime, not the one bringing charges.
Domestic Violence is defined in the law as certain criminal acts committed between persons who live together in the same household (or who have lived together in the past); or persons who have a child in common or are expecting a child (regardless of whether they have resided in the same household); persons currently or formerly in a romantic or sexual relationship; or persons related to one another in the following ways:
- Spouse or Former Spouse
- Parent or Step-parent
- Brother or Sister
- Grandparent or Step-grandparent
- Court Order Relationships (e.g., adoptions, guardianships, foster parents)
Domestic Violence is usually a part of the abuser's control over you. Control can take the form of forced sex (even if you are married), restrictions on where you go, and threats to harm you or others. Domestic Violence is not caused by alcohol, other drugs, or "stress." These may cause an increase in the abuse, but the need to control is the cause of the violence.
The abuser often apologizes and tries to make up. The abuser may even be sincere in wanting to change. Don't fool yourself. Statistics show that without court involvement and counseling, the violence will only get worse and happen more often.