Family Law

Determining Domestic Violence

People every day are affected by domestic violence. Some individuals do not recognize they are in an abusive relationship others are afraid to leave. For those who question: what is domestic violence? Am I a victim? How do I know? Or, what do I do?  This article will provide Arizona specific answers; so, you can know there is hope for all who are affected by domestic violence.

Determining Domestic Violence

The Department of Justice defines domestic violence as: “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.” The United States Department of Justice, http://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence (last visited Sept. 28, 2016). This includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, and psychological abuse.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, color, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. What people may not realize is that there is also an impact on youth. Teenage years are formative years and many young people may not realize they too can be involved in a domestic violence relationship.

According to SafeTeensAZ.org teen violence is defined as – “one partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through physical, emotional, sexual or stalking abuse. Teen dating violence crosses all racial, economic, and social lines and most victims are young women.” Safe Teens AZ, http://www.safeteensaz.org/dating-violence (last visited Oct. 3, 2016). This site includes some early warning signs that may indicate your relationship or date is becoming abusive: extreme jealously, telling you how to dress or act, keeping you away from friends, controlling behavior, and more. These are only some of the factors listed on their website.

Arizona law has what is called “the relationship test”. Pursuant to A.R.S. §13-3601 a relationship is defined as:
1)    The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household.
2)    The victim and the defendant have a child in common.
3)    The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
4)    The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant's spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
5)    The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
6)    The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship. The following factors may be considered in determining whether the relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship:
a.    The type of relationship.
b.    The length of the relationship.
c.    The frequency of the interaction between the victim and the defendant.
d.    If the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination.

In Arizona the law defines domestic violence under A.R.S §13-3601. This statute includes an enumerated list of domestic violence offense as described below:


Arizona Revised Statute (Law)    Crime
13-705    Dangerous crimes against children
13-1102    Negligent homicide
13-1103    Manslaughter
13-1104, 13-1105    1st and 2nd degree murder
13-1201    Endangerment
13-1202    Threats or intimidation
13-1203    Assault
13-1204    Aggravated assault
13-1302    Custodial interference
13-1303    Unlawful imprisonment
13-1304    Kidnapping
13-1406    Sexual assault
13-1425    Unlawful disclosure of images depicting any nudity or specific sexual activities
13-1504, 13-1503, 13-1502    Criminal trespass, 1st – 3rd degree
13-1602    Criminal damage
13-2810    Interfering with judicial proceedings
13-2904(A)(1), (2), (3), (6)    Disorderly Conduct
13-2910(A)(8)(9)    Cruelty to animals by neglect, mistreatment, or abandonment
13-2915(A)(3)    Intentionally prevent or interfere with the use of a telephone by another person in an emergency situation.
13-2916    Use of electronic communication to terrify, intimidate, threaten or harass
13-2921    Harassment
13-2921.01    Aggravated harassment
13-2923    Stalking
13-3019    Surreptitious (secret, unauthorized) photographing
13-3601.02    Aggravated domestic violence (here, if a person commits a third or subsequent domestic violence offense, the person is guilty of domestic violence
13-3623    Child or vulnerable adult abuse


If you are a victim of one of the above mentioned domestic violence offense know there is help.

Resources available:

Below are a number of resources available to you.

The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence is dedicated to providing direct services to victims and survivors of domestic violence. Their information can be found at: http://www.acesdv.org/
The Arizona Coalition for Domestic Violence has put together a list of shelters available to you throughout the state. Please click on the link to access their list. http://www.azcadv.org/azcadv2014wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/DV-and-SV-Program-List-Revised-on-3.15.2016.pdf

If there are people seeking to leave the state there are domestic violence shelters throughout the country where you can go to. Please click on the link below to direct you to a shelter in the state or city you wish to go. https://www.domesticshelters.org/

The Arizona Supreme has provided additional information that include safety plans and orders of protection. This information can be found at: http://www.azcourts.gov/domesticviolencelaw

Some victims are unsure of their rights. The Arizona Department of Public Safety along with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has compiled a list stating what rights victims automatically have and what other rights victims can assert. This can be found at: http://crime.azvictims.org/AZVOCA/pdf/VictimsRightsFlyer_English.pdf

There is an additional site that is discrete and can be downloaded as an app on your phone. This provides fast information when needed most. The site is http://AskAZ.org.

The Maricopa Association of Governors has provided a free safety plan pamphlet. The pamphlet is free and can be printed so it can be carried at all times. The safety plan can be found at: http://www.azmag.gov/Documents/pdf/cms.resource/dvsafety-new9-1-0529521.pdf

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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