Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can be broadly defined as a pattern of abusive or controlling behaviors in an intimate relationship. Partners may be married or not; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.

Violence such as physical assault, unwanted or forced sexual activity, and stalking may be criminal. Emotional, psychological and financial abuse may not be criminal but they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.

Examples of abuse include:

  • verbally insulting or humiliating a partner
  • keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
  • withholding money
  • preventing a partner from getting or keeping a job
  • physical aggression
  • threatening physical harm
  • sexual assault
  • stalking
  • intimidation
  • damaging a partner’s property

Domestic violence is also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, family violence and intimate partner violence.

Impact on Children

Children who grow up with frequent exposure to violence in the home are prone to numerous social and psychological problems. As adults they are at increased risk of becoming a new generation of victims and abusers, because they are taught from an early age that violence is a normal part of life.

For more information, contact a shelter or rape crisis center near you » or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.