Who Can Be A Domestic Violence Victim

Who can be a domestic violence victim?

Domestic violence situations can escalate quickly and without warning. If you believe you are or have been the victim of domestic violence, it’s important to get help as quickly as possible. However, if you are interested in or have questions about pursuing legal options, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the legal definition of who can be a victim of domestic violence.

While domestic violence, by definition, happens in the home, the term is reserved for those who are or have been in some type of romantic relationship with the abuser. A minor under the age of 18 is not considered a victim of domestic violence unless the abuser is the parent of the child they have in common, the victim is pregnant with the abuser’s child or the two parties have been in a romantic dating relationship. In circumstances outside these specifications, the person may still be a victim but it would be of another crime.

For those over the age of 18, the definition includes those who have been or are currently experiencing abuse at the hands of a spouse, household member or romantic partner. All three of these situations apply to current and former partners or household members.

If you believe that your situation meets one of these definitions, it’s important to talk with a family law attorney who can help you understand what options you may have moving forward. These may include but are not limited to requesting a protective order, relocating out of the abuser’s home or ending the relationship by filing for divorce.

Source: New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, “Legal Aspects Of Domestic Violence,” accessed Dec. 08, 2015


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