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Domestic violence generally refers to acts of violence or intimidation against a victim who cohabits with — or was romantically involved with — the abuser. In most cases, domestic violence will fall under five primary categories of abuse. These include:

— Psychological abuse: This refers to intimidation that is intended to threaten the victim in some way. Perhaps the abuser threatens to hurt the victim or take his or her children away.

— Physical abuse: This could include visible bruising and wounds, but it doesn’t have to result in visible injury. It can include hitting, grabbing, slapping, pushing and more. Physical abuse is usually identified by its outward signs.

— Sexual abuse: This might include the coercion of another person to perform sexual acts or to sexually humiliate another person. Sexual abuse could also involve children.

— Emotional abuse: This could include patterns of name-calling and belittling to diminish another person’s self-esteem. Emotional abuse can leave deep psychological scars, even if they’re not outwardly visible.

— Economic abuse: This involves the withholding of financial support so that the other individual is financially dependent to his or her abuser. Perhaps the abuser threatens to take financial support away to coerce the victim not to go to police.

If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you could find yourself facing stiff consequences — such as protective orders that prevent you from seeing your children — well before any kind of conviction occurs. As a result, if you’re accused of domestic violence, you will want to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to help you defend against the charges.

Source: FindLaw, “Domestic Violence Restraining Order FAQs,” accessed April 18, 2017

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