Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically. The one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) Learn more about the dynamics of domestic violence and how to identify an abusive relationship.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a United States federal law passed in 1994 and reauthorized in 2013. The Bureau of Justice Statistics issued a report in November 2013, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2010, showing the overall rate of intimate partner violence in the United States declined by 64% from 1994 to 2010. This report indicates that providing resources for victims and training and tools for law enforcement, as allowed by VAWA, has decreased rates of domestic violence during the past two decades. Learn more about VAWA and other laws and news relating to DV.