Definitions of Domestic Violence - North Carolina

Date: January 2021

Defined in Domestic Violence Civil Laws

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 50B-1

'Domestic violence' means the commission of one or more of the following acts upon an aggrieved party or upon a minor child residing with or in the custody of the aggrieved party by a person with whom the aggrieved party has or has had a personal relationship, but does not include acts of self-defense:

  • Attempting to cause bodily injury or intentionally causing bodily injury
  • Placing the aggrieved party or a member of the aggrieved party's family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment, as defined in § 14-277.3A, that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress
  • Committing a sex offense, as defined in §§ 14-27.21 through 14-27.33

Defined in Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Defined in Criminal Laws

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 15A-534.1

Crimes of domestic violence include any of the following acts that are committed against a person listed in this section:

  • Assault
  • Stalking
  • Communicating a threat
  • Committing a felony described in chapter 14, articles 7B (sex offenses), 8 (assault), 10 (kidnapping and abduction), or 15 (arson)
  • Domestic criminal trespass
  • Violation of a protection order

Persons Included in the Definition

Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 50B-1; Gen. Stat. § 15A-534.1

In civil law: The term 'personal relationship' means a relationship in which the parties involved meet the following criteria:

  • Are current or former spouses
  • Are persons of the opposite sex who live together or have lived together
  • Are related as parents and children, including others acting in loco parentis to a minor child, or as grandparents and grandchildren
  • Have a child in common
  • Are current or former household members
  • Are persons of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship or have been in a dating relationship

For purposes of this subdivision, a dating relationship is one in which the parties are romantically involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship. A casual acquaintance or ordinary fraternization between persons in a business or social context is not a dating relationship.

For purposes of this subdivision, an aggrieved party may not obtain an order of protection against a child or grandchild under age 16.

In criminal law: A criminal act is an act of domestic violence when it is committed against any of the following:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A person with whom the defendant lives or has lived as if married
  • A person with whom the defendant is or has been in a dating relationship, as defined in § 50B-1