Definitions of Domestic Violence - West Virginia

Date: January 2021

Defined in Domestic Violence Civil Laws

Citation: Ann. Code § 48-27-202

'Domestic violence' or 'abuse' means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:

  • Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing physical harm to another with or without dangerous or deadly weapons
  • Placing another in reasonable apprehension of physical harm
  • Creating fear of physical harm by harassment, stalking, psychological abuse, or threatening acts
  • Committing either sexual assault or sexual abuse
  • Holding, confining, detaining, or abducting another person against that person's will

Defined in Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-1-201

'Abused child' means a child whose health or welfare is harmed or threatened by domestic violence, as defined in § 48-27-202.

'Battered parent' means a parent, guardian, or other custodian who has been adjudicated by the court to have not condoned the abuse or neglect and has not been able to stop the abuse or neglect of the child or children due to being the victim of domestic violence, as defined by § 48-27-202, and the domestic violence was perpetrated by the person or persons determined to have abused or neglected the child or children.

Defined in Criminal Laws

Citation: Ann. Code § 61-2-28

'Domestic battery' means unlawfully and intentionally making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with a person's family or household member or unlawfully and intentionally causing physical harm to a person's family or household member.

'Domestic assault' means unlawfully attempting to commit a violent injury against a person's family or household member or unlawfully committing an act that places a person's family or household member in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.

Persons Included in the Definition

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 48-27-204; 61-2-28

In civil and criminal law: 'Family or household members' means persons who can be described as follows:

  • Are or were married to each other
  • Are or were living together as spouses
  • Are or were sexual or intimate partners
  • Are or were dating
  • Are or were residing together in the same household
  • Have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together
  • Have the following relationships to another person:
    • Parent or stepparent
    • Brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, or stepsister
    • Father-in-law or mother-in-law
    • Stepfather-in-law or stepmother-in-law
    • Child or stepchild
    • Daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepdaughter-in-law, or stepson-in-law
    • Grandparent or stepgrandparent
    • Aunt, aunt-in-law, or stepaunt
    • Uncle, uncle-in-law, or stepuncle
    • Niece or nephew
    • First or second cousin
  • Have a relationship listed above to a family or household member