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Tennessee Domestic Abuse Laws and How to Get Help for Domestic Abuse


Similar to other states in the United States, domestic abuse is regarded as unlawful in Tennessee. Abusing former or current romantic partners or family members are prohibited in the state. In Tennessee, the criminal offense of domestic violence/abuse is known as “domestic assault”.

Domestic Abuse Laws in Tennessee

According to the state’s domestic abuse law, domestic assault refers to a type of assault, which has a certain kind of victim. A domestic assault can be only committed against any one of the following entities mentioned below:

  1. Cohabitant
  2. Former or current spouse
  3. Sexual or dating partner
  4. Adoptive or blood relative
  5. A minor or adult child of any of the persons listed here, or
  6. A former or current relative by marriage

Criminal Records  Tennessee
Defining assault in Tennessee

In Tennessee, an assault is said to have occurred when an individual knowingly or intentionally causes:

  1. Someone else to reasonably apprehend imminent physical injury
  2. Bodily injury to someone else as is defined in the above list, or
  3. To have physical contact with someone else and the person has reasons to regard the contact as immensely provocative or offensive

An act is also considered as an assault in case an individual causes physical injury to another person recklessly.

Defining aggravated assault

The offense includes:

  1. Recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally causing severe physical injury to someone else (to a person defined in the list)
  2. An assault is committed by displaying or using a dangerous weapon
  3. Knowingly or intentionally attempting to cause or causing physical injury to someone else or trying to commit or committing an assault even while a court order, probation agreement, or diversion forbids such actions.


In Tennessee, domestic assault is regarded as a misdemeanor of type Class A. If the offense has been committed under the third subdivision, then it is referred to as a misdemeanor of type Class B.

  1. Class A misdemeanor is penalized by a fine amount of up to 2,500 USD and/or a maximum prison term of 11 months and 29 days
  2. Class B misdemeanor is penalized by a fine of 500 USD and a maximum jail term of 6 months.
 Public Records Tennessee

Additional punishments for multiple convictions:

  1. A domestic abuser can be penalized by a jail term between 30 days to 11 months & 29 days and a fine amount of 350 USD for being convicted for the second conviction.
  2. When the abuser is convicted for the 3rd or subsequent times, he/she can be penalized by a jail term between 90 days and 11 months & 29 days and a fine amount between 1,100 USD and 5,000 USD.

Additionally, if a person has protection or restraining order or is guilty of domestic assault, the punishments may also include the infringement of their right of possessing firearms.

Tennessee domestic abuse statistics

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations released some interesting domestic abuse statistics for the state recently. It was shared that around 77,846 domestic violence/abuse offenses had been reported in the year 2017. Women have 3 times the risk of being victimized as compared to men in the state.

How to get help for domestic abuse in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, a domestic violence/abuser survivor can reach out for support by contacting the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. If the victim does not have a protection order, it is time to get one at the earliest. When the victim has such an order, they can summon the police and even get their abuser arrested when the latter tries to violate any provision of the protection order.

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