It is now recognized as one of the most lethal forms of DV; yet, because of the lack of external injuries, and the lack of social awareness and medical training in regard to it, strangulation has often been a rather hidden problem.

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.

Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation.

In most legal systems around the world, the issue of DV has been addressed only from the 1990s onwards; indeed, before the late-20th century, in most countries there was very little protection, in law or in practice, against DV.

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.

Domestic violence may also involve violence against children or the elderly.

It takes a number of forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious, reproductive, and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse such as choking, beating, female genital mutilation and acid throwing that results in disfigurement or death.

In some countries, domestic violence is often seen as justified, particularly in cases of actual or suspected infidelity on the part of the woman, and is legally permitted.

Research has established that there exists a direct and significant correlation between a country's level of gender equality and rates of domestic violence.

Domestic violence occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported.