Definitions of Domestic Violence - Texas

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Defined in Domestic Violence Civil Laws

Citation: Fam. Code §§ 71.004; 71.0021

'Family violence' means the following:

  • An act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself
  • Abuse, as that term is defined by § 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household
  • Dating violence

'Dating violence' means an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an actor that:

  • Is committed against a victim or applicant for a protective order:
    • With whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship
    • Because of the victim's or applicant's marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage
  • Is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault

Defined in Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws

Citation: Fam. Code § 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M)

The term 'abuse' includes the following acts:

  • Physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child or the genuine threat of substantial harm, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given
  • Sexual conduct harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children under § 21.02, Penal Code; indecency with a child under § 21.11, Penal Code; sexual assault under § 22.011, Penal Code; or aggravated sexual assault § 22.021, Penal Code
  • Compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct, including compelling or encouraging the child in a manner that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons or compelling prostitution
  • Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene
  • The current use by a person of a controlled substance in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child
  • Causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance
  • Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child
  • Forcing or coercing a child to enter into a marriage

Defined in Criminal Laws

Citation: Penal Code § 25.07

For the purposes of this section, 'family violence,' 'family,' 'household,' and 'member of a household' have the meanings assigned by chapter 71, Family Code.

A person commits an offense if, in violation of a condition of bond set in a family violence, sexual assault or abuse, indecent assault, stalking, or trafficking case and related to the safety of a victim or the safety of the community, a protective order has been issued, the person knowingly or intentionally does any of the following:

  • Commits an act of family violence
  • Communicates:
    • Directly with a protected individual or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner
    • A threat through any person to a protected individual or a member of the family or household
    • In any manner with the protected individual or a member of the family or household except through the person€™s attorney or a person appointed by the court in violation of a protective order
  • Goes to or near any of the following places as specifically described in an order of protection:
    • The residence or place of employment or business of a protected individual or a member of the family or household
    • Any child care facility, residence, or school where a child protected by the protection order normally resides or attends
  • Possesses a firearm
  • Harms, threatens, or interferes with the care, custody, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal that is possessed by a protected person
  • Removes, attempts to remove, or otherwise tampers with the normal functioning of a global positioning monitoring system

Persons Included in the Definition

Citation: Fam. Code §§ 71.0021; 71.003; 71.005; 71.006; Gov't. Code §§ 573.022; 573.024

'Dating relationship' means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of the following:

  • The length of the relationship
  • The nature of the relationship
  • The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship

A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a 'dating relationship.'

'Family' includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under §§ 573.022 and 573.024, Government Code; individuals who are former spouses of each other; individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage; and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.

'Household' means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other. 'Member of a household' includes a person who previously lived in a household.

From the Government Code: Two individuals are related to each other by consanguinity if one is a descendant of the other or they share a common ancestor. An adopted child is considered a child of the adoptive parent for this purpose.

Two individuals are related to each other by affinity if either of the following applies:

  • They are married to each other.
  • The spouse of one of the individuals is related by consanguinity to the other individual.

The ending of a marriage by divorce or the death of a spouse ends relationships by affinity created by that marriage unless a child of that marriage is living, in which case the marriage is considered to continue as long as a child of that marriage lives.