Follow these Steps to email a friend or colleague a link to this information.
Definitions of Domestic Violence
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 Contents
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 material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.