Domestic murders include stoning, bride burning, honor killings, and dowry deaths.
Globally, the victims of domestic violence are overwhelmingly women, and women tend to experience more severe forms of violence.
Instead, physicians often looked for undiagnosed bone diseases or accepted parents' accounts of accidental mishaps such as falls or assaults by neighborhood bullies.
Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, battery), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation.
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.
Very few people recognize themselves as abusers or victims because they may consider their experiences as family disputes that just got out of control.
In abusive relationships, there may be a cycle of abuse during which tensions rise and an act of violence is committed, followed by a period of reconciliation and calm.
Crimes of passion in Latin America, a region which has a history of treating such killings in an extremely lenient way, have also come to international attention.
Victims of domestic violence may be trapped in domestic violent situations through isolation, power and control, cultural acceptance, lack of financial resources, fear, shame, or to protect children.
As a result of abuse, victims may experience physical disabilities, chronic health problems, mental illness, limited finances, and poor ability to create healthy relationships.
This publication urged countries around the world to treat DV as a criminal act, stated that the right to a private family life does not include the right to abuse family members, and acknowledged that, at the time of its writing, most legal systems considered DV to be largely outside the scope of the law, describing the situation at that time as follows: "Physical discipline of children is allowed and, indeed, encouraged in many legal systems and a large number of countries allow moderate physical chastisement of a wife or, if they do not do so now, have done so within the last 100 years.
Again, most legal systems fail to criminalize circumstances where a wife is forced to have sexual relations with her husband against her will.