Domestic Violence Laws

Assault and battery

When the law gets involved, the physically abusive actions listed on the Definitions page are considered battery. Therefore, a person who commits those offenses is called a “batterer.” The common definition of battery is, “An intentional and unwanted touch that causes harm or offense to another.” Battery occurs when the right to have one’s body left alone is violated by another person.

Assault is related but slightly different. The terms “assault” and “battery” are often used together or in place of each other. Assault is the threat of bodily harm, coupled with a perceived ability to cause the harm. Assault and battery are both a crime (you could be arrested) and a tort (you could be sued). No one wants either of those consequences.​

While emotionally abusive actions are not illegal, they’re also not good. They hurt your partner, and therefore, they hurt YOU. See the Who’s Hurt page for more about this idea.