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Definition of domestic violence in Georgia

The U.S. Department of Justice defines domestic violence as a pattern of behavior, though it may also include single acts of violence, that is meant to maintain control or power over a person in a domestic relationship. It includes actions and threats that humiliate, frighten, intimidate or wound the other party. Domestic violence may be psychological, sexual, emotional, economic or physical in nature.

Psychological violence may include threats of harm to self or others, intimidation, forced isolation, harm to pets or destruction of property. Sexual abuse includes any attempt to coerce sexual contact without consent. Forced sexual intercourse, physical attacks on sexual body parts and marital rape are all types of sexual domestic violence. Treating a person in a domestic relationship in a sexually demeaning way also meets the definition.

Emotional domestic violence is defined as undermining a person's self-esteem. It may include name-calling, unrelenting criticism or causing harm to an individual's relationships with others. Economic abuse usually involves an attempt to control the finances of an individual in an effort to make him or her financially dependent. Forbidding a spouse to work, for example, or withholding access to funds may constitute economic domestic violence.

Physical abuse is the type most commonly associated with domestic violence. It includes slapping, grabbing, shoving, hitting, hair puling, biting, pinching and other harmful or unwanted physical contact. Victims of domestic violence may wish to seek advice regarding the legal protections and resources available. A family law attorney can often help clients in pursuing protective orders or other relief, and might also be able to provide referrals to shelters or other agencies that can be of assistance to a victim.

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