Crimes between or against members of a family or those cohabitating under the same roof have specific legal classifications. Domestic violence, a serious crime, is the act of harming, threatening, controlling or coercing another member of one’s family or household.
Domestic violence does not always involve physical violence. In fact, there are many ways to define domestic violence that categorize a range of behaviors as unlawful and harmful.
An instance of violence involving a spouse, child, parent or another household member of an accused abuser can include efforts to harm or control without any physical interaction. Violent or not, unlawful acts of domestic abuse include:
- Harassment, including threats or relentless unwanted contact
- Emotional abuse, such as intimidation, humiliation or manipulation
- Purposeful destruction of treasured belongings
- Restriction of human rights such as food, water, communication or shelter
- Electronic harassment
- Hitting, shoving, biting or strangling
- Unwanted physical contact
Domestic abuse may also include behaviors that aim to control who a household member can speak to or interact with, as well as where he or she can go or what is seemingly allowed.
Criminal charges and consequences
The state of Illinois considers domestic violence to be a serious crime. Because of this, domestic violence charges may result in the installation of protective orders and restriction of the rights and movements of the accused while the case is in progress. Charges involve an investigation to determine the validity of the claims and how threatened the safety of the victim or victims appears to be.