Definitions of Domestic Violence - Delaware


Defined in Domestic Violence Civil Laws

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 10, § 922

The family court shall have exclusive original criminal jurisdiction in all proceedings in this State concerning the following offenses:

  • Ill treatment, abuse, abandonment, or contributing to the delinquency of a child or any misdemeanor committed against a child
  • Offenses, except felonies, committed by any of the following:
    • One member against another member of the family
    • Between former spouses
    • Persons cohabitating together who are holding themselves out as a couple, with or without a child in common
    • Persons living separate and apart with a child in common
  • Intrafamily offenses against the person under title 11, §§ 601 (offensive touching), 602 (menacing), and 611 (assault)
  • Violation of a protective order under title 11, § 1271A

Defined in Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 703A

'Domestic violence' includes, but is not limited to, physical or sexual abuse or threats of physical or sexual abuse and any other offense against the person.

'Domestic violence' does not include reasonable acts of self-defense by one parent for self-protection or in order to protect the child from abuse or threats of abuse by the other parent or other adult living in the child's home.

'Perpetrator of domestic violence' means any individual who has been convicted of committing any of the following criminal offenses in the State, or any comparable offense in another jurisdiction, against the child at issue in a custody or visitation proceeding, against the other parent of the child, or against any other adult or minor child living in the home:

  • Any felony-level offense
  • Assault in the third degree
  • Reckless endangering in the second degree
  • Reckless burning or exploding
  • Unlawful imprisonment in the second degree
  • Unlawful sexual contact in the third degree
  • Criminal contempt of a family court protective order based on an assault or other physical abuse, threat of assault or other physical abuse, or any other actions placing the petitioner in immediate risk or fear of bodily harm

Defined in Criminal Laws

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 11, § 3906

A crime of domestic violence includes the following:

  • Any offense set forth in title 11, chapter 5, subchapter II (offenses against the person, including assault or terroristic threatening)
  • Any offense set forth in title 11, chapter 5, subchapter III, subparts A (arson) and B (criminal trespass and burglary)
  • Any offense set forth in title 11, chapter 5, subchapter V, subpart A (child maltreatment and sexual offenses)
  • The offenses of disorderly conduct, harassment, or stalking

Persons Included in the Definition

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 10, § 901; Tit. 11, § 3906; Tit. 13, § 703A

In civil law: The term 'family' means spouses, a couple cohabitating in a home in which there is a child of either or both, custodian and child, or any group of persons related by blood or marriage who are residing in one home under one head or where one is related to the other by any of the following degrees of relationship:

  • Mother, father, stepfather, stepmother, mother-in-law, or father-in-law
  • Brother, sister, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law
  • Son, daughter; stepson, stepdaughter, son-in-law, or daughter-in-law
  • Grandfather, grandmother, grandson, or granddaughter

The relationships referred to in this definition include blood relationships without regard to legitimacy and relationships by adoption.

In criminal law: An offense is a crime of domestic violence that is committed by a member of the victim's family, regardless of the State of residence of the parties; by a former spouse of the victim; by a person who cohabited with the victim at the time of the offense; or by a person with a child in common with the victim.

In child protection law: The act of domestic violence may be committed by one parent against the other parent, against any child living in either parent's home, or against any other adult living in the child's home.