Whether domestic violence is a crime depends on the particular circumstances, as well as the laws of the state in which the act or acts occur. Often domestic violence is both a crime subject to criminal punishment and a civil wrong subject to restraint upon personal conduct and an award of a money damages in a civil lawsuit.
A frequent pattern in domestic violence cases is for the victim to be abused, call the police, press charges, then reconcile with the abuser, and seek to have the charges dropped, only to have the entire pattern repeated. Because of this, in some local communities and states, domestic violence is now prosecuted as a crime by city and district attorneys, even without charges being brought by the abused person, and even without his or her assistance. In these localities, a criminal case may be brought against the person causing the harm without a complaint being made by the victim.
Domestic violence is considered a crime against the community and the “state” should prosecute all harms against the community. Such localities try to “get the word out” that local authorities will not tolerate domestic violence; offenses will be prosecuted with or without the assistance of the victim.