Nebraska Revised Statute 42-903

Chapter 42


Terms, defined.

For purposes of the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) Abuse means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:

(a) Attempting to cause or intentionally and knowingly causing bodily injury with or without a dangerous instrument;

(b) Placing, by means of credible threat, another person in fear of bodily injury. For purposes of this subdivision, credible threat means a verbal or written threat, including a threat performed through the use of an electronic communication device, or a threat implied by a pattern of conduct or a combination of verbal, written, or electronically communicated statements and conduct that is made by a person with the apparent ability to carry out the threat so as to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family. It is not necessary to prove that the person making the threat had the intent to actually carry out the threat. The present incarceration of the person making the threat shall not prevent the threat from being deemed a credible threat under this section; or

(c) Engaging in sexual contact or sexual penetration without consent as defined in section 28-318;

(2) Department means the Department of Health and Human Services;

(3) Family or household members includes spouses or former spouses, children, persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons who have a child in common whether or not they have been married or have lived together at any time, other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, and persons who are presently involved in a dating relationship with each other or who have been involved in a dating relationship with each other. For purposes of this subdivision, dating relationship means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional or sexual involvement, but does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary association between persons in a business or social context;

(4) Household pet means any animal maintained for companionship or pleasure but does not include any animal kept primarily for commercial purposes or for consumption or any livestock animal as defined in section 54-902; and

(5) Law enforcement agency means the police department or town marshal in incorporated municipalities, the office of the sheriff in unincorporated areas, and the Nebraska State Patrol.


  • Not only is the recipient or target of a credible threat a "victim" of abuse eligible for a domestic abuse protection order under section 42-924, so too are those family members for whose safety the target reasonably fears because of the threat. Robert M. on behalf of Bella O. v. Danielle O., 303 Neb. 268, 928 N.W.2d 407 (2019).

  • The "credible threat" language in this section means that the evidence at trial must include some threat of intentional physical injury or any other physical threat. Linda N. v. William N., 289 Neb. 607, 856 N.W.2d 436 (2014).

  • The legislative intent of the language in this section is to allow a victim of abuse, law enforcement, and prosecutors to take steps toward preventing a threatened act of domestic abuse from actually becoming an act that leads to physical harm of the victim. Linda N. v. William N., 289 Neb. 607, 856 N.W.2d 436 (2014).

  • Subsection (1) of this section does not impose any limitation on the time during which a victim of domestic abuse resulting in bodily injury can file a petition and affidavit seeking a protection order. However, this does not mean that the remoteness of the abuse is irrelevant to the issue of whether a protection order is warranted. Sarah K. v. Jonathan K., 23 Neb. App. 471, 873 N.W.2d 428 (2015).

  • The term "physical menace" within the meaning of the abuse definition means a physical threat or act and requires more than mere words. Beemer v. Hammer, 20 Neb. App. 579, 826 N.W.2d 599 (2013).

  • Text messages cannot be construed to be within the meaning of physical menace, because words alone are not a physical threat or act within the purview of subsection (1)(b) of this section. Cloeter v. Cloeter, 17 Neb. App. 741, 770 N.W.2d 660 (2009).

  • The phrase "imminent bodily injury" within the context of subsection (1)(b) of this section means a certain, immediate, and real threat to one's safety which places one in immediate danger of bodily injury; that is, bodily injury is likely to occur at any moment. Cloeter v. Cloeter, 17 Neb. App. 741, 770 N.W.2d 660 (2009).

  • The term "physical menace" as used in subsection (1)(b) of this section means a physical threat or act and requires more than mere words. Cloeter v. Cloeter, 17 Neb. App. 741, 770 N.W.2d 660 (2009).