Though it gets less media attention than domestic violence and sexual abuse, emotional abuse is a significant problem in San Diego. You might wonder if an argument with your spouse or child could turn into an accusation of emotional abuse — and if that could mean getting arrested and charged with a crime.
Emotional or psychological abuse includes things like the following:
- Using insulting names, such as “stupid” or “ugly”
- Threatening physical harm
- Threatening to harm yourself
- Getting angry in a frightening way
- Being controlling, such as telling someone what they can eat or wear
- Jealousy, such as constantly accusing your partner of cheating
- Making your family member believe their feelings or needs are unimportant
As you can see, there is no element of violence in emotional abuse. That could be why California has no law making it a crime if the victim is a non-vulnerable adult. However, emotional abuse is against the law if the victim is a child or vulnerable adult. Also, certain activities considered emotionally abusive are crimes in their own right, such as stalking, harassment, and making a criminal threat.
There is also the chance that accusations of emotional abuse could lead to a restraining order against you. Depending on the circumstances, a restraining order could force you to move out of your home and prevent you from seeing your children. Allegedly violating the terms of the order could land you in jail.
An unfortunate remark made in the heat of the moment is unlikely to have legal consequences for you. But if a partner or family member ever accuses you of emotional abuse as part of an alleged pattern of behavior that includes domestic violence, you could face serious criminal charges.