What is domestic violence?

Most people believe that domestic violence means physical punishment or abuse in a family, but it is not restricted to that. Domestic violence can also take the form of mental or psychological abuse as well as threats of physical or mental abuse. Domestic violence is marital discord beyond the bounds of a reasonable response to the ups and downs of any marriage. Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse; according to one psychologist, it includes "...any behavior intended to control and subjugate another human being through ... fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults."

Public awareness of domestic abuse has increased since the 1970s, and the scope of what is considered domestic abuse has enlarged. Prior to that, society viewed domestic violence as private, something best left to the parties involved.