What is domestic violence? What are the symptoms of domestic violence and abuse?

Domestic violence is often refers to as spousal abuse, with emphasis tended to be on women as victims, but it also includes violent and abusive acts between family members.

Domestic violence, which affects people of all races and classes, is a type of abuse which takes may different forms including physical violence, threats of violence, insults, emotional abuse, economic deprivation or sexual assault.

The Domestic Violence Act 1994 (Act 521) (Malay: Akta Keganasan Rumah Tangga 1994 (Akta 521)) of Malaysia defines domestic violence as any of the following acts:
  • wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, the victim in fear of physical injury;

  • causing physical injury to the victim by such act which is known or ought to have been known would result in physical injury;

  • compelling the victim by force or threat to engage in any conduct or act, sexual or otherwise, from which the victim has a right to abstain;

  • confining or detaining the victim against the victim's will; or

  • causing mischief or destruction or damage to property with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause distress or annoyance to the victim;
by a person against his or her spouse, his or her own former spouse, a child [1], an incapacitated adult [2] or any other member of the family [3].

Domestic violence affects not only the direct victim, but witnesses, others in the family and community at large. Children growing up in violence families may develop social and physical problems.

Hiding it behind closed doors will not rectify the situation. If nothing is done about it, the abuse tends to worsen over time, sometimes resulting in serious injury or death.

Domestic violence is a crime and should not be tolerated by the society. The law exists to help those in need. All family members have the right to safety, support and protection against domestic violence.

  1. ^ Child means a person below the age of 18 years who is living as a member of the offender's family or of the family of the offender's spouse or former spouse, as the case may be.

  2. ^ Incapacitated adult means a person who is wholly or partially incapacitated or infirm, by reason of physical or mental disability or ill-health or old age, who is living as a member of the offender's family.

  3. ^ Other member of the family means

    (a) an adult son or daughter; or a father or mother of the offender; or

    (b) a brother or sister; or any other relative of the offender

    who in the opinion of the court should, in the circumstances of the family, be regarded as a member of the family.

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Knowledge Base ID :   1035
Last Reviewed :   November 17, 2016
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