Jamahl Kersey May 10, 2016 No Comments

Domestic violence and abuse are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, these crimes differ on factors such as longevity, cause, and context. Additionally, these offenses differ in the manner of which the public views them. The victims of both these offenses suffer greatly in short and long-term consequences; however, below are overviews of these acts of violence and how they differ from one another.

Domestic Violence Overview 

Domestic violence is a violent confrontation between family or household members. Additionally, domestic violence is a very broad offense as this crime affects both people and property.



Harm such as biting, hitting, battery with a weapon, and incredibly gruesome offenses such as breaking another’s bones are considered physical forms of domestic violence.


Rape, molestation, and unwanted sexual contact are forms of sexual domestic violence. It is important to note that neither gender is excluded when it comes to sexual domestic violence.


Instilling the fear of being harmed in a victim is a form of domestic violence. Whether the threat turns physical or not, it is still a crime.

Property Damage

Damaging a family or household member’s property is a form of domestic violence. This fact is perhaps the biggest way in which domestic violence and abuse differentiate.

How this Differs from Abuse:

Domestic violence is different from abuse as a result of being a far broader offense. A victim of domestic violence does not need to be physically or emotionally harmed, but can have their personal belongings damaged or destroyed. Domestic violence can be a long or short-term offense and is most common amongst couples. Domestic violence is a crime most often committed against women.

Abuse Overview 

Abuse is often a long-term offense and is defined as the maltreatment of a person or animal. Males and females of all ages fall victim to abuse every year.


Physical and Sexual

Like domestic violence, physical abuse is anything that causes physical harm to a victim. Sexual abuse is, of course, the result of any type of unwanted sexual contact.


Controlling someone’s finances without consent is known as financial abuse. This is a common type of abuse amongst the elderly.


Perhaps the most ignored type of abuse is emotional. Making another person feel hopeless, insulting another person, or controlling another person are all types of emotional abuse.

How this Differs from Domestic Violence:

Domestic violence is sometimes a long-term offense, but it can also be a one-time crime. The heat of the moment can result in domestic violence and the offense may never happen again. Of course, that is not always the case and domestic violence is an incredibly serious offense. Abuse, however, is a crime that offenders work up to accomplishing.

Additionally, crimes against children are more commonly referred to as abuse. Very rarely can causing harm to a child constitute heat of the moment occurrences. Spousal or elderly abuse are almost always long-term offenses because the abuser needed to instill a feeling of worthlessness into their victims before having their crime escalate to a more violent offense. Abuse almost always has devastating consequences and requires far more steps than an arrest to stop.

It is conclusive that there are a lot of similarities between domestic violence and abuse. The most distinguishable fact of these two crimes is typically the longevity of the offenses. Both domestic violence and abuse are violent, tragic crimes in which the offender deserves to be punished. Of course, both of these crimes are incredibly serious regardless of their circumstances and require assistance to prevent the offenses from happening again.

For more information on domestic violence, abuse, and further punishable offenses, please contact us today.