Domestic Violence Definition

What is Washington Domestic Violence?

In Washington State the term "DV" stands for domestic violence [RCW 26.50.010] and is a label attached to certain types of cases as they are processed through the legal system. This label can be attached to misdemeanors and felonies.

Washington law defines domestic violence as the infliction of physical harm, bodily injury, assault, imposing fear of imminent physical harm, sexual assault, or stalking committed by one family or household member [RCW 10.99.020] against another or against someone with whom you have a "dating relationship".

A "family or household member" means:

  • a spouse
  • former spouse
  • people who have a child in common
  • adults related by blood or marriage
  • adults who are presently living together or who have lived together in the past
  • people sixteen years of age or older who are living together or have lived together in the past
  • people sixteen years of age or older who have or have had a dating relationship
  • people who have a parent-child relationship (biological or legal). This includes stepparents, stepchildren, grandparents and grandchildren.

A "dating relationship" means a social relationship of a romantic nature. To determine if a "dating relationship" exists the court may consider; (1) the length of time the relationship has existed, (2) the nature of the relationship, and (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties.