What Is Domestic Violence?

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in any intimate relationship whereby one partner seeks to gain or maintain power and control over the other. Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic and psychological. The abuser takes action or makes threats that influence the other person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone.  Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender.

Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. (Adapted from National Domestic Violence Hotline)

Abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. These are behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. Abuse includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of abuse can be going on at any one time. Read more and learn about different types of abuse

Learn more about domestic violence

The use of the power and control wheel to describe accurately what occurs in an abusive relationship is the most common tool many advocates use with survivors. View the power and control wheel

Many individuals that experience domestic violence describe living through a repeated cycle of abuse. It often follows a recognizable pattern.  View the three phases of abuse and learn more about cycles of abuse

Abuse is a choice. It is not something that occurs because the abuser “lost control.” If this was the case, co-workers, friends, family, and the general public would witness or be victims of the violent behavior. The abuser is selective about when the behavior occurs, meaning the abuser is in control of it. There are various types of abuse including emotional, physical, sexual, financial and property damage.

Read more about types of abuse

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