Those closest to us tend to be the ones who can inflict the greatest amount of harm. This is the case for laws relating to domestic abuse in the state of Colorado. What is domestic violence? More specifically, what is emotional abuse and is it penalized like domestic violence?
Yes, emotional abuse is a form of domestic abuse. As such, perpetrators of emotional abuse may be fined or even jailed for their crimes.
Colorado statute defines domestic violence to be any crime against a person “when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge,” against someone with whom the person has an “intimate relationship.” According to this law, domestic violence is not limited to acts that leave bruises or scars but can be acts that inflict emotional or psychological damage.
Domestic violence can have severe repercussions for the victim. Emotional abuse, as a subset of domestic violence, can cause problems with anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions. The victim of emotional abuse is manipulated through criticism, shame, embarrassment, and other methods by a close or significant other. The long-term effects of emotional abuse may leave the victim self-critical as they find themselves starting to agree with their abuser.
What is an intimate relationship?
Someone who is emotionally abused typically ends up feeling too exhausted to remain in the relationship but too frightened to leave. Domestic violence is not limited to close family connections such as a spouse, but it can include any combination of relationship status, current spouse, former spouse, potential spouse, co-parent, etc. As such, it is important to understand that a couple does not need to be married to be protected by domestic abuse statutes, but only needs to fulfill the state’s description of “intimate relationship.”