Definitions of Domestic Violence - Missouri

Date:

Defined in Domestic Violence Civil Laws

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 455.010

'Abuse' includes, but is not limited to, the occurrence of any of the following acts, attempts, or threats against a person who may be protected pursuant to this chapter:

  • 'Assault,' which means purposely or knowingly placing or attempting to place another in fear of physical harm
  • 'Battery,' which means purposely or knowingly causing physical harm to another with or without a deadly weapon
  • 'Coercion,' which means compelling another by force or threat of force to engage in conduct from which the latter has a right to abstain or to abstain from conduct in which the person has a right to engage
  • 'Harassment,' which means engaging in a purposeful or knowing course of conduct involving more than one incident that alarms or causes distress to an adult or child, serves no legitimate purpose, and causes a reasonable adult or child to suffer substantial emotional distress, including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Following another about in a public place or places
    • Peering in the window or lingering outside the residence of another, not including any constitutionally protected activity
  • 'Sexual assault,' which means causing or attempting to cause another to engage involuntarily in any sexual act by force, threat of force, duress, or without that person's consent
  • 'Unlawful imprisonment,' which means holding, confining, detaining, or abducting another person against that person's will
  • 'Domestic violence,' which means abuse or stalking committed by a family or household member, as such terms are defined in this section

'Stalking' is when any person purposely engages in an unwanted course of conduct that causes alarm to another person when it is reasonable in that person's situation to have been alarmed by the conduct.

Defined in Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Defined in Criminal Laws

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 565.072; 565.073; 565.074; 565.076

A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the first degree if he or she attempts to kill or knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury to a domestic victim, as the term is defined under § 565.002.

A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the second degree if the act involves a domestic victim, and he or she does any of the following:

  • Knowingly causes physical injury to the victim by any means, including, but not limited to, use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or by choking or strangulation
  • Recklessly causes serious physical injury to the victim
  • Recklessly causes physical injury to the victim by means of any deadly weapon

A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the third degree if he or she attempts to cause physical injury or knowingly causes physical pain or illness to a domestic victim.

A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the fourth degree if the act involves a domestic victim, and any of the following applies:

  • The person attempts to cause or recklessly causes physical injury, physical pain, or illness to the victim.
  • With criminal negligence, the person causes physical injury to the victim by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
  • The person purposely places the victim in apprehension of immediate physical injury by any means.
  • The person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to the victim.
  • The person knowingly causes physical contact with the victim knowing he or she will regard the contact as offensive.
  • The person knowingly attempts to cause or causes the isolation of the victim by unreasonably and substantially restricting or limiting his or her access to other persons, telecommunication devices, or transportation for the purpose of isolation.

Persons Included in the Definition

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 455.010; 565.002

In civil law: 'Family' or 'household member' means spouses, former spouses, any person related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together or have resided together in the past, any person who is or has been in a continuing social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, and anyone who has a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have resided together at any time.

In criminal law: The term 'domestic victim' means a household or family member as the term 'family' or 'household member' is defined in § 455.010, including any child who is a member of the household or family.