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Domestic Violence

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed October 2023

"Domestic violence" is when a family member or intimate partner abuses another family member, household, or intimate partner. There are many different forms of abuse. However, Massachusetts law usually defines domestic violence or abuse as when someone:

  • harms you physically,
  • tries to harm you physically,
  • makes you afraid that serious physical harm is going to happen to you, or
  • threatens, pressures, or forces you to have sex.

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