Domestic Abuse vs. Domestic Violence: What Are the Differences?

By Alex
January 30, 2023

On average, about 20 people are abused per minute by their partner. This equals millions of women and men. It often comes in the form of domestic abuse or domestic violence. 

Domestic abuse vs. domestic violence: While these two terms are often used interchangeably, there are distinct differences. One comes with higher penalties than the other. 

Lawyers have to take different defense approaches depending on what their client is being charged with. In most states, they can’t tackle a domestic abuse case the same way they would a domestic violence one. 


These are only a few facts that you should know. Continue reading to learn more.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is an umbrella term that refers to any kind of physical, economical, psychological, or sexual abuse that takes place between two people. 

Most of the time, domestic abuse starts with verbal insults and transforms into physical violence as time goes on. Even though many concentrates on the latter, emotional abuse can take a significant toll on a person. Those who experience it often develop depression and anxiety. 

While women are the most common victims of domestic abuse, it can happen to anyone. Assault can happen anywhere at any time. It can even occur between two strangers. 

What is Domestic Violence? 

Domestic violence refers to abusive behavior that occurs between two people in a close relationship. This can include romantic partners, parents, children, or even housemates. 

In all instances, One partner resorts to violence to exert power over the other. Domestic violence involves violent behavior only. It doesn’t often come hand in hand with assault. 

Like domestic abuse, domestic violence can cause a person to develop emotional disorders. You can go here to learn about relationship PTSD. 

Penalties and Charges

In some states, domestic abuse and violence are handled a little differently. Domestic abuse is usually viewed as the more serious crime because it includes such a wide variety of violent behaviors. 

The least serious assault charge is an assault of the third degree. It’s seen as a misdemeanor. 

Defense Strategies 

Since domestic assault usually involves physical injuries, lawyers have to approach these cases a bit differently than they would a domestic violence one. They have to gather evidence to prove that an injury occurred. 

If an injury did occur, the attorney then has to find out if it was caused due to abuse and if it’s as serious as the victim claims. 

Domestic violence can occur without the inclusion of injury, so that reduces the lawyer’s workload. 

Domestic Abuse vs. Domestic Violence: Understanding the Differences 

Domestic abuse vs. domestic violence: While these two terms are often used interchangeably, they’re a bit different. 

Domestic abuse includes every form of abuse, from verbal insults to physical violence. Domestic violence only includes violent behaviors. One thing that the two do have in common is the emotional scars they leave behind. 

For more information on Domestic violence and abuse, visit the General section of our blog.





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