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Domestic Violence in Georgia

Domestic violence is without a doubt one of the highest health concerns in the United States. Understanding its legal definition can help you to act in a safe and effective way.

According to the United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, the definition of domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner.

Domestic violence encompasses different types of abuse.

  1. Physical abuse can include hitting, biting, slapping, battering, shoving, punching, pulling hair, burning, cutting, pinching, etc. (any type of violent behavior inflicted on the victim). Physical abuse also includes denying someone medical treatment or forcing drug/alcohol use on someone.
  2. Sexual abuse occurs when the abuser coerces or attempts to coerce the victim into having sexual contact or sexual behavior without the victim’s consent. This often takes the form of marital rape, attacking sexual body parts, physical violence that is followed by forcing sex, sexually demeaning the victim, or even telling sexual jokes at the victim’s expense.
  3. Emotional abuse involves invalidating or deflating the victim’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. Emotional abuse often takes the form of constant criticism, name-calling, injuring the victim’s relationship with his/her children, or interfering with the victim’s abilities.
  4. Economic abuse takes place when the abuser makes or tries to make the victim financially reliant. Economic abusers often seek to maintain total control over financial resources, withhold the victims’ access to funds, or prohibit the victim from going to school or work.
  5. Psychological abuse involves the abuser invoking fear through intimidation; threatening to physically hurt himself/herself, the victim, children, the victim’s family or friends, or the pets; destruction of property; injuring the pets; isolating the victim from loved ones; and prohibiting the victim from going to school or work.
  6. Threats to hit, injure, or use a weapon are a form of psychological abuse.
  7. Stalking can include following the victim, spying, watching, harassing, showing up at the victim’s home or work, sending gifts, collecting information, making phone calls, leaving written messages, or appearing at a person’s home or workplace. These acts individually are typically legal, but any of these behaviors done continuously results in a stalking crime.
  8. Cyberstalking refers to online action or repeated emailing that inflicts substantial emotional distress in the recipient.

The definition of domestic violence currently recognizes that victims can be: Spouses, Sexual/Dating/Intimate partners, Family members, Children and Cohabitants.

Domestic violence takes on many forms of abuse and damaging behavior. This practice is a destructive crime that carries life-altering damage to everyone involved. If you are confused or questions about how the law can address your domestic violence concerns, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Call (770) 422-4241 or email