Domestic Violence: Legal Definition

According to the Texas Penal Code:

Sec. 71.004.  FAMILY VIOLENCE.  "Family violence" means:
(1)  an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself;
(2)  abuse, as that term is defined by Sections 261.001(1)(C), (E), and (G) [see below], by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or
(3)  dating violence, as that term is defined by Section 71.0021


Sec. 71.0021.  DATING VIOLENCE. 

(a)  "Dating violence" means an act by an individual that is against another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship and that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the individual in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.

 

(b)  For purposes of this title, "dating relationship" means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of:
(1)  the length of the relationship;
(2)  the nature of the relationship; and
(3)  the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

 

(c)  A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a "dating relationship" under Subsection (b).261.001 

(1)  "Abuse" includes the following acts or omissions by a person:
(C)  physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm;


(E)  sexual conduct harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Section 21.02, Penal Code, indecency with a child under Section 21.11, Penal Code, sexual assault under Section 22.011, Penal Code, or aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021, Penal Code;
(G)  compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Section 43.01, Penal Code.