DOJ quietly changes the definition of domestic violence, abuse centers worried

The U.S. Department of Justice quietly changed the definition for domestic violence on its website this week. It eliminates mental, verbal and financial abuse as defining terms. The definition will only pertain to physical violence.

The Center for Abuse & Rape Emergencies in Charlotte County is a resource for people when their relationships shatter, but the center is worried the new definition for domestic violence will discourage victims from calling.

“The emotional abuse can be just as bad or worse than the physical abuse,” said Karen McElhaney, executive director at C.A.R.E.. “It’s life altering.”

McElhaney said most physical abusers begin with emotional, economic and psychological areas of control.

“The abuse will escalate, and why wait until we are called out to the hospital to see a victim?” McElhaney said.

C.A.R.E. helps people in abusive relationships safely get out of those harmful situations. C.A.R.E. is also concerned it may lose funding for programs designed for all areas of abuse but said calls will always be answered.

 

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
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