Is Verbal Abuse Domestic Violence?

When we think of domestic violence, we typically think of physical actions that hurt or harm a spouse or child. Physical actions are violent in nature, but what about verbal actions? Although someone can be verbally “violent,” does that mean that verbal abuse is domestic violence? To find out, we need to look at the definition of domestic violence.

Florida’s Definition of Domestic Violence

Florida’s definition of domestic violence states,

“Domestic violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member of another family or household member.”


Nowhere in this definition do we find the term “verbal abuse.” However, the term we do find in the definition above is “assault.” Assault is defined as an act that threatens physical harm to a person whether or not actual harm is done. Therefore, verbal comments can be considered domestic abuse when a person threatens another with physical harm: even if that bodily harm never occurs.

The problem with the definition of assault is the word “threaten.” While identifying threatening scenarios may seem easy, jokes of violence can muddy the waters. If a husband tells his wife, “do the dishes, or I’ll kick your ass,” then what may be playful banter could be considered domestic violence without proper context.

All this to say, verbal abuse is only domestic abuse in highly specific scenarios. With this in mind, if any person is accused of domestic violence through assault, hiring experienced criminal defense attorneys could be the difference between exoneration and conviction.

Accused of domestic violence? Call (386) 693-1637 now for an immediate consultation of your case!
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