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What is Domestic Violence?

In today’s society, though we seem to have a greater awareness of the existence of domestic violence, it still remains largely hidden from public view. Often, the victims go to great lengths to mask any evidence of domestic violence, for fear that they won’t get the protection they need, or that they will be left alone to fend for themselves. Domestic violence takes many shapes and forms, including far more than physical abuse. This blog post provides a general overview of what constitutes domestic violence.

The Many Faces of Domestic Violence or Abuse

At its most fundamental level, domestic violence or abuse includes a broad range of acts perpetrated by one personal against someone with whom that person has an intimate relationship, including a partner, spouse or family member. Domestic violence is generally a coercive act used by one person to exert power or control over the victim. While men or women can be victims of domestic abuse, the majority of victims are women. In a survey conducted by the National Institute of Justice, nearly 25% of women said they were raped or physically assaulted by a date, live-in partner or spouse at some point in their lifetime.

Domestic violence can take forms other than physical abuse. The abuser may engage in emotional and psychological intimidation, or may make the victim the subject of continual verbal abuse. They may also engage in stalking, phone or mail harassment, and economic control. Domestic violence has also taken the form of the destruction of property, particularly items that have significant meaning or value to the victim. The abuser may intercept phone calls in an attempt to isolate the victim from friends and family members, and may deny the victim access to wages, medication or a vehicle. The violence can also be committed against a pet of the victim.

The most common forms of domestic violence include:

Physical abuse, such as hitting, slapping, pushing, choking, punching, pulling hair or beating with any type of object. It can also include the denial of medical care, or of sleep, or forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol.
Emotional abuse, such as isolating the victim, denying the victim access to basic necessities, withholding information from the victim, attempting to humiliate the victim (publicly or privately)
Sexual abuse, including coercing a partner to have sex against their will, rape or other forcible sexual contact
Verbal abuse, from threatening language to name-calling, blaming, and continual criticism
Economic abuse, such as denying the victim access to reasonable resources to meet economic needs

Contact Our Office

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To arrange a private meeting with an experienced Pennsylvania domestic violence attorney, contact us online or call our office at 717-773-4822 (toll free at 1-866-619-3079). Se habla Espãnol.