Spousal Abuse and Domestic Violence

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Spousal Abuse and Domestic Violence


Domestic violence refers to physical harm inflicted on one member of a household or family, by another member of the same household or family (usually between spouses). Domestic violence (sometimes called “spousal abuse”) usually involves repetitive physical and psychological abuse, and a “cycle of violence.” Specific crimes charged vary based on:


  1. The severity of the victim’s injuries,
  2. Whether a minor was present, and
  3. Whether a protective or restraining order was violated.


You do not have to live with abuse, no matter what your age. Physical abuse is against the law. It is no more legal for your spouse to hit you than for a stranger to hit you.


Fortunately, more and more police departments and courts are sensitive to domestic violence and are willing to help victims. If your spouse strikes you, call the police and file a complaint. You also may ask the police to help you find a domestic violence shelter. You may stay there if you wish to leave your abusive home.


If you do not want to leave your home, you may seek an order of protection through the courts. With such an order, you can have your spouse removed from the home, even though he or she may be the owner.