What does Family Violence mean?
Under Texas law, “Family violence” means any act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself
Family violence also includes what is considered “Abuse” against a family member or household member. “Abuse” of a family member includes the following acts or omissions by a person against a family member:
- mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning;
- causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning;
- physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm;
- failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child;
- sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Section 21.02, Penal Code, indecency with a child under Section 21.11, Penal Code, sexual assault under Section 22.011, Penal Code, or aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021, Penal Code;
- failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child;
- compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Section 43.01, Penal Code, including conduct that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons under Section 20A.02(a)(7) or (8), Penal Code, prostitution under Section 43.02(a)(2), Penal Code, or compelling prostitution under Section 43.05(a)(2), Penal Code;
- causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene as defined by Section 43.21, Penal Code, or pornographic;
- the current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child;
- causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code;
- causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Section 43.25, Penal Code; or
- knowingly causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a child to be trafficked in a manner punishable as an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(5), (6), (7), or (8), Penal Code, or the failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent a child from being trafficked in a manner punishable as an offense under any of those sections.
Assault of a Family Member or a Household Member is a serious charge that needs experienced and thorough representation. If you or a loved one is accused of assault family violence then you need to speak a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately.
“Dating Violence” is considered Family Violence
Family violence also includes “dating violence.” Under Texas law Dating Violence is any act (other than self-defense) that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. And this act was committed is committed against a “victim” with whom the person has (or has had) a dating relationship. Dating violence also means a violence act committed because of the victim’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage. A “dating relationship” means a relationship between people who have (or have had) a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of:
- the length of the relationship;
- the nature of the relationship; and
- the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a “dating relationship” in this context.