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Trump administration narrows definition of domestic violence

Many people are unaware of one particularly insidious policy change made by the Justice Department under the Trump Administration. Last year, they quietly changed the definition of domestic violence to make it far more narrow.

Under President Obama, the term was defined to include acts of non-physical aggression toward an intimate partner, including "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 current administration restricted the definition to only include violent misdemeanors or felonies committed by one partner toward another. As any domestic violence victim might imagine, that can have a significant impact on the prosecutability of any domestic violence charge.

If you are a survivor of domestic violence, you are probably all too familiar with they myriad ways that your abuser can chip away at your sense of self-worth without ever lifting a hand to you. Belittling one's spouse, keeping them tied to their abuser by denying them access to money and other marital resources, isolating them from friends and family are all ways that abusers keep their victims downtrodden and under their control.

According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 43 million women in the United States reported experiencing "psychological aggression" from their intimate partners. While psychological abuse may not leave physical scars, the damage to one's psyche may be permanent.

Nobody has to put up with abuse from their spouse or partner. If you are ready to break free of the cycle of damaging domestic violence, you will need a strong support system in place. Your Philadelphia family law attorney is a good source of guidance and advice when seeking an order of protection against your abuser.

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