Definition of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is defined as a pattern of coercive control characterized by the use of physical, sexual and psychologically abusive behaviors. Additionally, coercion of domestic violences victim may be achieved through behaviors directed toward children, property, pets or others. Violence or the threat of violence toward one’s children is often a powerful means of coercing the battered woman/male. Prior physical or sexual violence toward the battered woman/male, or knowledge of such behaviors on the part of the batterer, enhances the coercive property of the batterer subsequent psychological or emotionally abusive behaviors. For example, intimidating gestures or comments acquire a very singular meaning when the batterer has shown willingness to actually harm his/her partner. Recognizing the variety of coercive behaviors used by the batterer to exert control over his/her partner helps accurately characterize the relationship context within which a battered male/female behavior is considered by the fact finder.

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