This is a very difficult question because there are many categories of “abusive” behavior, which may not meet the standard of domestic violence for purposes of a restraining order or impacting parenting decisions by a judge.
For example, it is rare that purely verbal behavior will rise to the legal standard of domestic violence unless acts of violence or revenge are involved. However, a number of actions, which may not appear to be domestic violence at first impression, may be factors or evidence of domestic violence to a judge. Some examples: (1) Repeated phone calls may be considered harassment for purposes of both criminal charges and a protection order. (2) It is unlawful to take someone’s car keys to prevent them from leaving a home or to block a doorway to prevent them from leaving a room they wish to leave. (3) Breaking someone’s property in anger, harming a family pet or a number of other similar behaviors may constitute domestic violence.
The wisest choice for someone who thinks he or she may be a victim of domestic violence is to consult a community advocacy organization or to contact a lawyer with specific knowledge in this area.