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Corporal Injury VS Domestic Abuse (Differences, Definitions & Statistics for 2024)

Corporal injury and domestic abuse are related but distinct legal concepts. Corporal injury refers to the physical harm or injury inflicted upon a person, typically involving physical violence, whereas domestic abuse is a broader term that refers to a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain control over another in an intimate relationship.
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What is Corporal Injury?

According to the EG, in California, charges of corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant fall under Penal Code Section 273.5 [1]. This offense is generally defined as intentionally causing physical harm that results in a traumatic condition to an intimate partner.

Some common examples of injuries that would be considered a corporal injury would include:

  • Scratches
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Broken nose
  • Concussion

A traumatic condition means a wound or other types of bodily injuries that were caused by a direct application of physical force. It’s important to note here that the injuries don’t have to be a serious physical condition.

What is Domestic Abuse?

According to the UN, domestic abuse, also called “domestic violence” or “intimate partner violence”, can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner [2].

This can include physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats that influence another person.

Such behaviors may include frightening, intimidating, terrorizing, manipulating, hurting, humiliating, blaming, injuring, or wounding someone.

Domestic abuse can occur in any relationship, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender, and can involve married couples, cohabiting partners, or those dating. It affects individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds and educational levels.

Victims of domestic abuse can be of any age, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith, or class, and may include children, other relatives, or household members. This abuse often takes the form of a pattern of behavior directed at an intimate partner, where the abuser exerts power and control over the victim.

It can manifest as mental, physical, economic, or sexual abuse, and incidents tend to escalate in frequency and severity over time. In some cases, domestic abuse can lead to serious physical injury or even death.

What’s the Difference Between Domestic Violence and Corporal Injury?

According to the SCLG, the distinction between domestic violence and corporal injury lies in the presence of physical injury [3]. Corporal injury, such as corporal injury to a spouse, involves the infliction of physical harm. Therefore, it is considered a specific type of domestic violence offense.

This means that domestic violence is a wide range of criminal offenses. Corporal injury crimes are only a small subset of these domestic violence offenses. Because they lead to an injury, though, they are generally the most severe kinds of domestic violence, SCLG Stated.

In California, various crimes fall under the category of domestic violence, including spousal battery (Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC), child endangerment (Penal Code 273(a) PC), corporal injury on a child (Penal Code 273d PC), and corporal injury on a spouse (Penal Code 273.5 PC). While some of these offenses do not require physical injury to be considered unlawful, others, like corporal injury on a spouse, specifically involve physical harm.

Domestic Violence Statistics

  • On average, an estimated 24 people per minute experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, totaling more than 12 million women and men in a single year.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have faced rape, physical violence, or stalking by a partner, impacting their daily lives.
  • About 15% of women (14.8%) and 4% of men in the US have suffered injuries due to intimate partner violence, which includes rape, physical violence, or stalking.
  • In their lifetime, 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
  • Every year, over 12 million people in the US are affected by intimate partner violence.
  • More than a third of women (35.6%) and a quarter of men (28.5%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • Almost half of all women and men in the US have faced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).
  • Women aged 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence.
  • From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.
  • Most female victims of intimate partner violence had been previously victimized by the same offender, with rates of 77% for women aged 18 to 24, 76% for those aged 25 to 34, and 81% for those aged 35 to 49.

Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline [4].

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If you feel affected by any of these matters, you should contact a criminal defense attorney and seek help.

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