Idaho updates domestic violence definition to include emotional, psychological abuse

Idaho updates domestic violence definition to include emotional, psychological abuse

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Idaho Capitol Boise

The dome inside of the Idaho Statehouse, looking up through the rotunda. 

BOISE — Acts of emotional and psychological violence will be included in Idaho’s definition of domestic violence.

The House Health and Welfare Committee unanimously approved a section of administrative rules Monday that updates the state’s definitions for domestic violence and victims.

The adopted rule expands the scope of domestic violence beyond physical abuse to include intimidation, control, coercion, emotional and psychological abuse and behavior, harassment, financial abuse and more.

It also adds a definition for victim as “a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, or financial harm as a result of an act by someone else, which is a crime.”

Language was eliminated that narrowly defined victims as spouses, blood relatives and roommates.

The section of rules governs the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance, which oversees and distributes federal grant money for victim services and programs.

Also included in the rule update are changes to the mechanics of the grant process.

Federally recognized tribes are now eligible to apply for victim services grant money. The period for grant awards was extended from one year to three, and applicants may now submit an online request for funding. It also adds stricter provisions on the conflict of interests of those determining grant distributions.

Executive director Nicole Fitzgerald said the update aligns Idaho with federal definitions.

“We believe that these changes will positively impact the community programs that apply for our funding and their ability to secure and sustain funding from the council,” Fitzgerald said.

About $12.5 million in federal grant money was distributed in 2019 to more than 40 programs across Idaho.

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