Legal Definition of Family Violence
The legal definition of family or domestic violence under Georgia law is the occurrence of one or more abusive acts, as defined by the state, against spouses and children, romantic partners, and other family members or household guests who reside in the same household. Depending on the circumstances involved, it may be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony charge, with domestic violence penalties including fines, community service, mandatory counseling, and imprisonment.
Forms of Family Violence
- Spouse abuse, involving couples who are either married or divorced;
- Intimate partner violence;
- Child abuse, involving biological children, as well as adopted, foster, or stepchildren;
- Abuse against other family members, including parents, grandparents, and siblings;
- Acts of violence toward other household members, including guests, boarders, or roommates.
Acts of Family Violence
The Georgia Domestic Violence Benchbook advises that acts of domestic violence may include the following:
- Battery and Assault: Includes putting others in physical danger, threatening to cause bodily harm, or causing bodily injury, with or without a weapon.
- Stalking: Includes following, surveilling, harassing, or contacting another against their wishes;
- Criminal Damage to Property: Intentionally damaging or interfering with another’s property;
- Unlawful Restraint: Involves kidnapping and false imprisonment;
- Criminal Trespass: Involves entering or interfering with another property without permission.
In addition to the above, all felony acts are included. While not individually named, Georgia domestic violence law is broad in including felony acts, regardless of whether they are of a violent or non-violent nature.