What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one partner to exert control and maintain power over another person in an intimate relationship. Also called intimate partner violence, domestic abuse, and relationship abuse, domestic violence can destroy the lives of its victims. Domestic violence encompasses a wide array of abusive behaviors.

  • Emotionally abusive behavior includes:
    • Constant verbal insults
    • Jealousy
    • Humiliation
    • Controlling their partner’s whereabouts
    • Isolating their partner from friends and family
  • Physically abusive behavior includes:
    • Hitting, kicking, biting, etc.
    • Controlling their partner’s diet or sleep schedule
    • Preventing calls for help from police or help from doctors
    • Threatening family members, including children
    • Rape and sexual assault

Who can be a victim of Domestic Violence? Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Unlike many other kinds of crime, domestic violence can happen in any situation and circumstance. Domestic violence victims and perpetrators come from all backgrounds and all sexual orientations. Its reach makes domestic violence an unusually universal public health and safety issue. 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 10 million women and men in the United States experience domestic violence. That is nearly 20 victims every minute. Women experience domestic violence at higher rates than men, with 1 in 4 women experiencing severe domestic violence compared to 1 in 9 men.

Children are often the forgotten victims of domestic abuse. Children who experience abuse during their early childhood or are exposed to abusive situations develop coping mechanisms to deal with their unhealthy situation. This can make them more vulnerable to grooming techniques from predators outside their homes and can make it difficult for them to form healthy, trusting relationships later in life. [1] 

How can we prevent Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence prevention programs are some of the most effective ways to prevent domestic violence. Teens are often entering their first intimate relationships with another person, so it’s important to educate them on healthy communication methods, mutual respect, and what constitutes a healthy relationship.

Connecting with resources available on our website, including our Safety & Risk Reduction Tips and Safe at Home Program, is an important step in preventing or escaping an abusive situation.

The National Domestic Violence hotline is also available 24/7 for survivors and victims of domestic violence.