Perhaps you are going through a contentious divorce, and your spouse threatens to accuse you of domestic violence if you do not agree to their wishes. You may laugh it off, safe in the knowledge that you have never laid a finger on them. Yet, you are not as safe as you may think. Domestic violence charges do not require physical contact by the aggressor to stick.
What constitutes domestic violence?
- Physical abuse: Not all physical abuse leaves a mark. Grabbing or pushing could qualify, so could physical intimidation or threats.
- Emotional abuse: Continually putting down someone, telling them they are stupid or making negative comments about their appearance could be construed as abuse.
- Financial abuse: Controlling the finances could lead to allegations of trying to control someone by restricting them financially.
- Digital abuse: Checking emails or messages could count.
- Stalking: Following your spouse if you suspect them of having an affair could lead to charges if done repeatedly.
Your actions don’t even have to be directed at the victim to count as domestic violence. For example, imagine you have put up with your partner’s dog for years. One day, it growls at you, so you kick it. Your partner could accuse you of abusing the dog to get at them.
Who can accuse you of domestic violence?
A stranger in the street can accuse you of many things, but not domestic violence. Only the following people can bring these charges:
- Your spouse
- Your partner
- Your family
- Your children or partner’s children
- People you share a house with
If accused of domestic violence charges, take it seriously and seek legal help. Knowing you are innocent is not enough. You need to convince the court that you are telling the truth and your accuser is not.