Trump administration quietly changes definition of "domestic violence" and "sexual assault"
“The previous definition included critical components of the phenomenon that experts recognize as domestic abuse — a pattern of deliberate behavior, the dynamics of power and control, and behaviors that encompass physical or sexual violence as well as forms of emotional, economic, or psychological abuse,” Nanasi explained.
But the Trump Justice Department’s definition only considers physical harm that constitutes a felony or misdemeanor to be domestic violence, meaning that other forms of domestic violence like psychological abuse and manipulation no longer fall under the DOJ’s definition.
“This makes no sense for an office charged with funding and implementing solutions to the problem of domestic violence rather than merely prosecuting individual abusers,” Nanasi wrote.
At the same time, the OVW also changed its definition of “sexual assault” to similarly focus on the criminal justice aspects.
The new definition says “the term ‘sexual assault’ means any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.”
The previous definition was more expansive: “Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.”