Domestic Violence Definitions

 "Family Violence" is defined in the Texas Family Code (Section 71.004) as:

(1) 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 the reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, but does not included defensive measures to protect oneself; (2) Abuse by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or (3) Dating violence as defined by Section 71.0021.

"Dating Violence" is defined in the Texas Family Code (Section 71.0021) as:

(a) "Dating violence" means an act by an individual that is against another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship and that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the individual in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself. (b) For the purposes of this title, "dating relationship" means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of: 1. the length of the relationship; 2. the nature of the relationship; and 3. the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. (c) A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a "dating relationship" under Subsection (b).

The Texas Council on Family Violence defines "battering" as:

A pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Battering is a behavior that physically harm, arouses fear, prevents a woman from doing what she wishes or forces her to behave in ways she does not want. Battering includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse, and economic deprivation.

National Expert on Family Violence, Barbara Hart, defines Domestic Violence as:

"Domestic violence involves a continuum of behaviors ranging from degrading remarks to cruel jokes, economic exploitation, punches and kicks, false imprisonment, sexual abuse, suffocating actions, maiming assaults, and homicide. Unchecked, domestic violence usually increases in frequency and severity. Many victims suffer all forms of abuse. Verbal and emotional abuse may be subtler than physical harm, but this does not mean that it is less destructive to victims. Many have said that the emotional scars take much longer to heal than the broken bones."

 

Domestic Violence Statistics

  • The majority of victims of family violence in Texas in 2012 were between the ages of 20 and 24.
  • The most common weapon involved in family violence cases in 2012 in Texas was physical force through the use of hands, feet, and fists, accounting for 80.3% of incidents.
  • In Texas, 39% of all women murdered in 2011 were victims of intimate partner violence.

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