Often, domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling behavior. When a person faces domestic violence accusations, there is sometimes confusion as to what constitutes domestic abuse. 

Are acts against an ex considered domestic violence? Can domestic violence include verbal abuse? Arizona law defines who can accuse another person of domestic violence. 

Who is the plaintiff in domestic violence cases? 

People who face accusations of domestic violence may wonder if the accuser has the right to make that claim. Domestic violence covers specific relationships, including: 

  • Marriages and former marriages 
  • Two people living within the same household 
  • Couples with a child in common or a pregnancy 
  • Any relationship that is romantic or sexual either in the present or past 
  • Two people related by blood, court order or through marriage 
  • Two people who reside or used to reside in the same house, where one is related to a former spouse or another resident of the home 

Courts can determine romantic or sexual relationships based on the length of the relationship, the frequency of interaction, the length of time since a relationship’s end and the type of relationship. 

Can domestic violence be verbal? 

Domestic abuse is not necessarily physical abuse, explains WebMD. Emotional and psychological abuse is also domestic violence. Verbal abuse may include: 

  • Name-calling 
  • Yelling 
  • Threats to harm the person, the person’s children or a pet 
  • Threats to damage personal property 
  • Persistent criticism 
  • Shame  

Behavior that intimidates or humiliates the other person is domestic violence. When one person keeps the other financially dependent in order to exert control, that is also domestic abuse.