Texas Definitions and Consequences of Domestic Violence

Texas Family Code defines domestic violence as violence that takes place between any current and former family members, current and former spouses, foster family members and persons in the same household — including roommates.

In fact, domestic violence can occur between any persons related by affinity. This means that even abuse from friends or someone the victim is dating may qualify under the law.

Domestic abuse in Texas

According to the Department of Public Safety’s 2018 Crime Report, more than one-third of reported domestic violence is between spouses and approximately one-fourth is between parents and their children. The remaining reports come from other domestic relationships.

State law defines abuse as any actions intended to result in physical harm, sexual assault, molestation or coercion. But it also includes behavior that reasonably threatens a person to believe that they are in imminent danger.

Nearly half of all domestic violence cases in Texas result in no physical injury at all, so victims should not wait to get help if they have reason to suspect or fear abuse.

Justice for abuse in Texas

Depending on the severity of abuse, perpetrators may face a misdemeanor charge with a small fine, or they could face a felony in the first degree. In the worst cases, abusers can see sentences of crippling fines and up to 99 years of incarceration.

As FindLaw explains, courts adjudicate domestic violence cases according to the nature of the relationship between the abuser and the victim and the type of harm the perpetrator inflicts. They will also consider any prior charges and the likelihood of continued abusive behavior.

For victims of abuse, the State Family Violence Program cooperates with a network of emergency service providers to provide safety and resources to create a better life. These are available to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

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