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Definitions of Domestic Violence
Series: State Statutes|
Child Welfare Information Gateway |
|Year Published: 2013|
Current Through August 2013
To access the statutes for a specific State or territory, visit the State Statutes Search.
(PDF - 533 KB)
This factsheet provides both civil and criminal definitions of domestic violence. The definition often varies depending on the context in which the term is used. A clinical or behavioral definition is "a pattern of assaultive and/or coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion, that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners." Legal definitions across the States generally describe specific conduct or acts that are subject to civil and criminal actions, and the specific language used may vary depending on whether the definition is found in the civil or criminal sections of the State's code. Summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included.
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws
Persons Included in the Definitions
Summaries of State Laws
We also recommend the following Information Gateway publications:
Suggested Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2013). Definitions of domestic violence. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau.
This publication is a product of the State Statutes Series prepared by Child Welfare Information Gateway. While every attempt has been made to be as complete as possible, additional information on these topics may be in other sections of a State's code as well as agency regulations, case law, and informal practices and procedures.
This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.