Definitions of Domestic Violence - Virginia

Date:

Defined in Domestic Violence Civil Laws

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 16.1-228; 38.2-508(7)

'Family abuse' means any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury and that is committed by a person against such person's family or household member. Such act includes, but is not limited to, any forceful detention; stalking; criminal sexual assault in violation of § 18.2-61, et seq.; or any criminal offense that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.

The term 'domestic violence' means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts by a current or former family or household member, as defined in § 16.1-228:

  • Attempting to cause or causing or threatening another person with physical harm, severe emotional distress, psychological trauma, rape, or sexual assault
  • Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances that place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or physical harm
  • Subjecting another person to false imprisonment
  • Attempting to cause or causing damage to property to intimidate or attempt to control the behavior of another person

Defined in Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Defined in Criminal Laws

Citation: Ann. Code § 18.2-57.2

Any person who commits an assault and battery against a family or household member is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

Upon a conviction for assault and battery against a family or household member, the person is guilty of a class 6 felony when that person has been previously convicted of two offenses that occurred within 20-year period against a family or household member that includes any of the following:

  • Assault and battery against a family or household member
  • Malicious wounding or unlawful wounding in violation of § 18.2-51
  • Aggravated malicious wounding in violation of § 18.2-51.2
  • Malicious bodily injury by means of a substance in violation of § 18.2-52
  • Strangulation in violation of § 18.2-51.6
  • An offense under the law of any other jurisdiction that has the same elements of any of the above offenses

The definition of 'family or household member' in § 16.1-228 applies to this section.

Persons Included in the Definition

Citation: Ann. Code § 16.1-228

The term 'family or household member' includes any of the following:

  • The person's spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person
  • The person's former spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person
  • The person's parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, grandparents, and grandchildren regardless of whether such persons reside in the same home with the person
  • The person's mother-in-law, father-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law who reside in the same home with the person
  • Any individual who has a child in common with the person, whether or not the person and that individual have been married or have resided together at any time
  • Any individual who cohabits or who, within the previous 12 months, cohabited with the person, and any children of either of them then residing in the same home with the person