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What acts are considered to be domestic violence?

Sometimes family members and significant others get into fights. While many of these arguments are simple disputes that can be resolved through communication, others escalate to physical altercations. When situations evolve into domestic assault, this could result in individuals in Iowa and other states being charged with a crime. And, because this type of criminal charge involves a loved one, it has the tendency of having both potential criminal penalties and the consequence of ruined relationships.

Domestic assault is defined as violent acts committed by a family or household member against another. While this could occur between a parent and child or two adult family members, it is frequently used to describe the physical altercations between partners, whether they are married or unmarried, living together or just dating. Because of this, these violent acts are also frequently referred to as spousal abuse.

What acts are considered to be domestic violence? Domestic violence is a distinct crime and can come in various forms. It could be physical abuse, which includes acts such as hitting, biting, slapping, punching, shoving, battering or any form of violent behavior inflicted on a victim. It could come in the form of sexual abuse, which is when an abuser coerces or attempts to coerce a victim into having sexual contact without the consent of the victim.

Domestic abuse could also come in the form of emotional abuse, which involves the invalidating or deflating of a victim's self-worth or their self-esteem. Finally, it could come in the form of economic abuse, which occurs when an abuser makes or attempts to make a victim financially reliant on them.

The specific crimes charged following a domestic violence event are based on three factors. First, the severity of the victim's injuries is assessed. Second, whether a minor was present during the event is considered. Finally, law enforcement will establish whether a protective or restraining order was in place and violated during this event.

Those charged with domestic assault should understand what they could do to defend against these allegations. Initiating a timely and aggressive defense could help a defendant avoid harsh penalties and even help them dismiss the charges against them.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Domestic Violence," accessed June 4, 2017

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