What is Domestic Violence?

mom_and_sonDomestic violence is a pattern of physical assaults, threats and coercive behaviors used to maintain control over a current or former intimate partner. Abusive behaviors can include ongoing verbal, emotional, sexual, physical, psychological and economic abuse, and typically get worse over time. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that domestic violence is a crime that affects up to 30% of American women.

Examples of abusive tactics include:

  • hitting, kicking and punching
  • preventing access to or knowledge of family finances
  • threatening to take custody of the children or threatening to take children away
  • harming children as a punishment to one’s partner or spouse
  • destroying property
  • harming pets
  • berating in front of children, family or friends
  • threatening violence
  • monitoring where she goes and who she sees
  • restricting access to family and friends
  • accusing her of infidelity
  • forcing her to perform sexual acts or behaviors she does not want to do or is uncomfortable with

Domestic violence can result in death, serious injury, isolation, emotional damage, medical issues, and poverty for victims. Domestic violence remains the leading cause of injury to women, and is the leading cause of women’s visits to hospital emergency rooms. Nationally, one half of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence.