primary aggressor | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee


Course: Introduction / Criminal Law

The primary aggressor is the most significant contributor to violence in a domestic violence situation.

Most states now have primary aggressor statutes that require this person to be identified and arrested.

The primary aggressor is a term used in domestic violence situations to describe the individual who is the most significant contributor to the violence. In domestic violence situations, it is not uncommon for both parties to engage in physical or emotional violence, but the primary aggressor is the person who poses the greatest threat to the safety and well-being of the victim.

In recent years, many states have implemented primary aggressor statutes that require law enforcement officers to identify and arrest the primary aggressor in domestic violence situations. These statutes are designed to ensure that the individual who poses the greatest threat to the safety and well-being of the victim is held accountable for their actions.

Under these statutes, law enforcement officers are required to evaluate a number of factors when determining who the primary aggressor is in a domestic violence situation. These factors may include the history of violence between the parties, the severity of the injuries sustained by the victim, the use of weapons, and any evidence of self-defense.

The implementation of such statutes has been controversial, with some critics arguing that they unfairly target men and may result in the arrest of victims who have acted in self-defense. However, supporters of primary aggressor statutes argue that they are necessary to ensure that the most dangerous individuals are held accountable for their actions and that victims receive the protection they need.

Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects millions of individuals and families each year. The implementation of these statutes is just one of many steps that have been taken in recent years to address the problem of domestic violence and ensure that victims receive the support and protection they need.

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Last Modified: 04/13/2023


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