Domestic Violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner or family member. Abuse includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence can happen between couples who are married, live together, or date. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and all education levels. The definition of domestic violence is very broad.
In Texas, courts use the phrase Family Violence when addressing issues associated with domestic violence. The legal definition of family violence is defined in the family code as “an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.” When a person commits an illegal act of domestic violence, law enforcement can become involved.
Often there is domestic violence that does not meet the legal definition as described above but is still a devastating and demoralizing act for the victim and their family. The Family Justice Center is here to assist you, regardless of the degree of violence.