I have heard the terms “domestic abuse” and “domestic violence” used by military personnel. Is there a difference?
Yes. In the military, “domestic abuse” and “domestic violence” mean two different things. In both cases, the abuser can be of the same-sex or of the opposite sex, and s/he must be one of the following:
- your current or former spouse;
- a person who you have a child in common with; or
- a current or former "intimate partner" who you live/lived with.
Domestic abuse is defined as a pattern of behavior resulting in emotional/psychological abuse, economic control, and/or interference with personal liberty. There does not have to be any physical violence involved.
Domestic violence in the military is a crime (under the United States Code, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or state law) that involves the use, attempted use, or threatened use of force or violence OR a violation of an order of protection.1
If your relationship with the abuser does not meet any of these requirements, you could still qualify for a civilian protective order (CPO) in the state you live in. Go to the Know the Laws tab on the top left of the page, enter your state in the drop-down menu and click on Restraining Orders to see if you qualify for a CPO.