Virginia law recognizes five different types of violence used by a partner to gain control over another. Domestic violence may also occur if the victim was an in-law who resided in the same home. These methods include physical violence, emotional abuse and sexual assault. Individuals who commit domestic violence may also do so by controlling a partner’s access to money or by otherwise neglecting that person. Examples of physical violence include slapping, biting or using a weapon to harm a partner.
Emotional abuse can include calling someone names or threatening to harm family members. An individual engaging in emotional abuse might also torture a pet or threaten to do so. Sexual abuse involves forcing a partner to submit to sex acts against their will or without explicit consent. Individuals who are victims of any type of domestic abuse may be entitled to seek a protective order against their abusers.
It may be possible to seek a civil award against them as well. If an abuser is a parent, a custody or support order could be modified to recognize the danger that a child or parent is in. Abuse victims could also take part in a confidential program that sends mail from agencies to a secret address. All other mail is sent to the person’s legal address as usual.
Those who are involved in an abusive domestic situation may wish to speak to an attorney about their rights after such an event. This might help them seek legal action without their abuser knowing about it. It may also make it easier to protect a child from potential abuse. In some cases, abusive parents can lose custody of their children, lose visitation rights and be stripped of their right to carry a firearm.