Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, is hurtful, repeated and intentional behavior that one person uses to maintain power and control over another in an intimate relationship.

The behavior can manifest as abuse that is verbal, emotional, psychological, physical or sexual.

Some of these behaviors include: threats, name-calling, put-downs, isolation, withholding of money, physical harm and sexual assault. 

Domestic violence occurs in heterosexual relationships, gay and lesbian relationships and is common in teenage dating relationships.

Domestic violence crosses all boundaries and can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, religion, culture, socio-economic level or educational attainment.


Common Forms of Abuse

  • Verbal, psychological, emotional: Your partner uses insults, put-downs, name calling or mind games to humiliate, confuse or make you feel bad or guilty. 
  • Isolation: Your partner controls what you do, where you go, who you see and talk to, what you read, activities you are involved in, how you dress. 
  • Economic: Your partner controls all the finances, makes you ask for money, gives you an allowance, demands an accounting for every expenditure, prevents you from getting or keeping a job. 
  • Coercion and Threats: Your partner threatens to leave you, take the children, report you to welfare, commit suicide, hurt someone or something you love in order to control you.
  • Intimidation: Your partner uses looks, gestures or actions that are threatening to you.
  • Physical: Your partner hits, slaps, pushes, kicks, shakes, strangles or uses any kind of physical force against you. Your partner harms or destroys something you hold valuable, including pets or treasured objects.
  • Sexual: Your partner rapes you, hurts you or forces you to perform acts against your will.

Your partner may use one, several or all of these forms of abuse in any combination to control you.

The abuse may start out very slowly and increase over time so that you may be unaware that it is happening. 

It may start as verbal or emotional abuse and become physical.

The physical abuse may become so bad that your health and life are in danger.

Any kind of ongoing abuse between adults will have a seriously negative impact on children in the household and may result in damaging psychological, emotional and behavioral problems.