What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used to maintain control or assert power over an intimate partner (spouse, former-spouse, co-parent, or dating partner), a parent or a present or former household member.

Abusive behaviors are not limited to physical violence such as punching or kicking, they also include psychological, verbal, sexual and economic abuse.

Examples of Abusive Behaviors

Physical: Hitting, slapping, pushing, biting, punching, choking and restraining.


  • Making partner feel insecure: attacks on self esteem, blaming, criticizing, manipulation, making partner feel crazy, humiliating, & creating feelings of guilt.
  • Intimidation: threatening looks or behavior, throwing objects, breaking things, & punching walls, playing on partner’s fears.
  •  Isolation: stopping the person from seeing friends and family, sabotaging relationships, pressuring partner into giving up activities or work & keeping tabs on partner.

Verbal: cursing, swearing, yelling, put-downs, name calling, and criticizing thoughts and feelings.

Sexual: Any non-consenting sexual act or behavior, unwanted sexual contact, comments or gesturing within a relationship, manipulating a partner into doing something sexual they do not feel comfortable with.

Economic: Controlling all finances, preventing partner from getting a job.

Domestic Violence:

Is Widespread – One in every four women report being sexually or physically assaulted by a spouse, cohabiting partner or date at some time in their lifetime, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey.

Doesn’t Discriminate – Domestic Violence occurs in people from every ethnic background, educational level, income, age, race, and religion regardless of marital status or gender preference.

Recurs and Escalates over time.

Is All Encompassing affects the work, school, home, and social life of every member of the family.