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Three Relationships where Violent Crimes are Considered Domestic Violence

Under Virginia law, domestic violence, commonly called family abuse, is defined as “any act involving violence, force, or threat including any forceful detention, which results in physical injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury and which is committed by a person against such a person’s family or household member.” While it may seem obvious which relationships fall within this definition, there are some situations that fall outside of the general expectations.


Violence between spouses is the most commonly recognized form of domestic violence. It generally occurs when a husband assaults his wife or a wife assaults her husband. Due to the intimacy of a marital relationship, some parties wrongly characterize marital assault as a private matter of conflict, not necessitating intervention from law enforcement. The perspective of the law is quite different though. When spousal conflict escalates to physical injury or the reasonable fear of injury, it is classified as a crime.


Many argue that it is your Constitutional right to discipline your child. Under Virginia law, you can exercise that right as long as your method of discipline does not exceed a standard termed “due moderation”. While debate over this subjective standard is widespread, it generally turns on the following factors:

  • marks and bruises left on the child
  • the age of the child
  • the size and conduct of the child
  • the method of discipline used

When “due moderation” is exceeded, discipline may result in a domestic violence charge, among other possible charges. At that point, your Constitutional right to discipline your child gives way to the criminal laws of the state. Even prior to a criminal conviction, an allegation of domestic violence against your child may result in the child’s removal from the home and an investigation by the Department of Social Services.


Many are surprised to learn that violence against roommates falls under the classification of domestic violence. This is because these individuals live within the same household, meeting the definition under Virginia law. When disputes between roommates rise to a level of bodily harm or fear of harm, charges of domestic violence may result. This law also expands to individuals who lived together within the last 12 months.

Consult an Attorney with Experience in Domestic Violence Cases | Shannon & Associates, PC

If you are dealing with issues of domestic violence within the state of Virginia, contact the attorneys of  Shannon & Associates for a free consultation. These lawyers can provide you with knowledgeable and experienced legal advice. Contact Shannon & Associates online or call 757-228-5529 today.

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