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Is all domestic violence physical?

As someone who is non-violent and who loves his partner, it's a horrible feeling to know that you've been accused of domestic violence. How could someone accuse you of being violent when you've never touched your partner at all? There are a few things to consider. For one thing, not all domestic violence is violent in nature. Although the terminology suggested that you must be physically abusive to be involved in a domestic dispute, it's not the case at all.

What is domestic violence?

Virginia recognizes several kinds of domestic abuse including emotional abuse, sexual assault, economic control, neglect and physical violence. Even if you never touched your partner, it's possible that she could accuse you of emotional abuse, for example. With emotional abuse, you're being accused of being intimidating or of humiliating your partner for your own gain. Emotional abusers use these techniques to gain control by destroying the other person's self-esteem.

Sexual assault is possible, even in a relationship. Forcing a spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend into a sexual act he or she does not agree upon is assault.

Economic control is another kind of abuse some people don't consider. This is when one person controls all the finances in a home, forbids or discourages employment, withholds information about finances or uses his or her power of attorney improperly.

With all these types of abuse to contend with, it's important to know what you're being accused of. Your attorney can help you fight allegations of abuse, so you can move forward with your life without having your reputation tarnished.

Source: FindLaw, "Virginia Domestic Violence Laws," accessed March 21, 2017

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