WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Domestic Violence refers to bodily injury caused (or attempted) by one party in a special relationship on the other. It also includes a threat to cause injury. The “special relationship” described by the statute includes current & former spouses, members of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship, and members of a household. The relationship between gay and lesbian couples may be included if they live together, but the statute does not currently recognize their dating relationships the way it does for straight couples.
The way in which the abuser injures the victim is not specifically defined in the statute. The abuse can be physical or emotional. I have had clients who thought that they did not qualify for a protective order because their ex had never punched them. Among the recognized ways in which an abuser may harm his victim are: slapping, shoving, kicking, stabbing, choking, hair pulling, and acts of sexual assault. Threatening to do any of these things may also be considered domestic violence. If your partner threatens you, or your children, you should leave if possible, and you should call 911. Then call us.
Domestic violence includes more than physical harm. If your partner- or former partner- is stalking you, harassing you (including harassment on the internet), or deliberately making your life intolerable, you should talk to your local law enforcement agency. Then, even if the police can’t help you, call us at (919) 903-9442 or email us for assistance or to schedule an appointment.