Domestic violence affects many people across California, and it is not confined to physical assault. This term includes a broad range of behaviors that cause serious emotional, psychological and physical effects on the injured party. Whether you are seeking help for yourself or someone you know, understanding what makes up domestic violence is essential.
In California, the law defines domestic violence as abuse committed against a current or former spouse, cohabitant, dating partner or someone closely related by blood or marriage. But what exactly does “abuse” mean in this context? Here are the different forms of domestic violence in California law.
Most people associate domestic violence with physical abuse, such as hitting, slapping, pushing, pulling hair or any act that inflicts physical pain or injury. Physical abuse goes beyond these actions, however. Any use of force against another person that results in physical harm is physical abuse in California.
Emotional and psychological abuse
Emotional and psychological abuse might not leave physical scars, but they can be as damaging as physical abuse. This type of abuse includes verbal harassment, humiliation, intimidation or threats, which can lead to emotional trauma, anxiety and depression.
Sexual abuse in a domestic relationship includes any unwanted sexual activity. Forcing a partner into sexual activities without consent, harassment or any other form of sexual misconduct falls under sexual abuse.
Economic abuse is controlling or limiting a person’s access to financial resources, such as bank accounts, credit cards or even employment. This control can make an individual financially dependent and trapped in an abusive relationship.
Stalking and harassment
Stalking and harassment include repeated, unwanted attention like following, calling or texting without consent, creating fear and anxiety for the individual.
Domestic violence in California includes all these types of abuse. If you recognize these signs, you can take appropriate action if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence. Support and resources exist to help abused individuals on the path toward healing.