“Domestic violence” and “family violence” are the same under Indiana law. Importantly, domestic and family violence are not defined by physical harm. A person does not need to have been physically injured or have visible bruises to seek protections afforded to domestic violence victims. In fact, domestic violence can range from a single verbal threat to physical harm of a family pet.

Domestic and family violence are defined by statute in Indiana. Indiana Code §31-9-2-42 defines domestic violence as a single occurrence of one of the following:

  • Attempting to, threatening to, or causing physical harm to a family or household member
  • Placing a family or household member in fear of physical harm
  • Causing a family or household member to involuntarily engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress
  • Harming or killing of a vertebrate animal with the intent to threaten, intimidate, coerce, harass, or terrorize a family or household member

The only exception to the above list is if the offender acted in legal justification, such as self-defense. Otherwise, domestic and family violence are broadly defined to protect individuals, families and children. If you or someone you know may be a victim of domestic and family violence, it is important that you get help as soon as possible. Any victim of domestic violence should speak to a qualified attorney so that they can discuss their options to obtain safety for themselves and their children.