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Domestic violence (also named domestic abuse or family violence) is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation.

It may be termed intimate partner violence when committed by a spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner, and can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships, or between former spouses or partners.

Domestic violence occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is an entitlement, acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported.

Traditionally, domestic violence (DV) was mostly associated with physical violence.

Terms such as wife abuse, wife beating, and wife battering were used, but have declined in popularity due to efforts to include unmarried partners, abuse other than physical, female perpetrators, and same-sex relationships.

It is now recognized as one of the most lethal forms of DV; yet, because of the lack of external injuries, and the lack of social awareness and medical training in regard to it, strangulation has often been a hidden problem.

Homicide as a result of domestic violence makes up a greater proportion of female homicides than it does male homicides.

For example, in Ancient Rome, a father could legally kill his children.

Many cultures have allowed fathers to sell their children into slavery. Child maltreatment began to garner mainstream attention with the publication of "The Battered Child Syndrome" by pediatric psychiatrist C. Prior to this, injuries to children—even repeated bone fractures—were not commonly recognized as the results of intentional trauma.

In 2002, Widney Brown, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, argued that there are similarities between the dynamics of crimes of passion and honor killings, stating that: "crimes of passion have a similar dynamic [to honor killings] in that the women are killed by male family members and the crimes are perceived as excusable or understandable".

Historically, children had few protections from violence by their parents, and in many parts of the world, this is still the case.

Domestic murders include stoning, bride burning, honor killings, and dowry deaths.

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