Domestic violence laws typically define who can be considered an alleged victim. While people often think of married couples or romantic partners when they hear the term “domestic violence,” the law is broader than that.
It’s also not strictly confined to violent acts. Under New York state law, an act of domestic violence can include stalking, harassment, menacing, reckless endangerment, sexual misconduct or abuse, grand larceny and identity theft. Under the law, the act(s) must have “resulted in actual physical or emotional injury or have created a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm to such person or such person’s child.
Who is a family or household member?
By definition under the law, an alleged act of domestic violence must be committed by “a family or household member.” This includes someone who has the following relationship with the alleged perpetrator:
- They are or were their spouse.
- They are or were at one time an intimate partner.
- They are the co-parent of their child, regardless of whether they were ever married or lived together.
- They are related to them by blood.
- They are or were related by affinity, which typically refers to a person’s in-laws.
- They are unrelated but are “continually or at regular intervals living in the same household” or have in the past.
When it comes to children, for an action to be considered domestic violence, the child may be a natural or adopted one or under the alleged perpetrator’s “care or custody.”
Family and other close relationships can be fraught with all kinds of tension. Just living under the same roof with someone can be stressful, sometimes. The past couple of years have added new layers of stress to all of our lives.
If you’re facing charges of domestic violence, it’s imperative that you take them seriously. That’s important even if you believe it was all a misunderstanding that got blown out of proportion – or that someone who doesn’t even know you saw or heard something that they misunderstood. Whatever the case, don’t try to take on the justice system on your own.