What Is It?

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, is a pattern or cycle of abusive behaviors used by one individual that are intended to exert and maintain power and control over another individual in the context of an intimate or family relationship.  Domestic violence includes abusive behaviors that are physical, emotional and verbal, financial and sexual.



hitting, kicking, pushing, grabbing, biting, stabbing, Murder

Emotional & Verbal

name-calling, belittling, threatening, stalking, intimidating, isolating


Unwanted sexual activity, refusing to use protection, sabotaging birth control, coercing sex, rape


Controlling, finances, withholding money, forbidding a career, disrupting a job


Dating Violence

Similar to domestic violence, dating violence and abuse is characterized by a pattern of abusive behaviors by one partner intended to establish and maintain control over a dating partner.  Dating violence and abuse occurs between unmarried partners and most statistics refer to the incidence of dating violence within teenage relationships.  Click here to learn more about Dating Violence.

Myths & Facts


It’s called “domestic violence.” If he doesn’t hit me, it’s not domestic violence.


Physical violence leaves physical evidence—bruises, broken bones, cuts and scars. Learn more about domestic violence.


She made him angry, it’s her fault she got hit.


No victim asks for abuse; the abuser is to blame for the abuse.


If she didn’t like the abuse, she’d leave.


Leaving an abuser is never so simple as walking out the door. Barriers like fear of losing children, lack of money and fear of retribution makes it challenging to leave an abusive relationship.


Only women are victims of domestic violence.


Although the majority of reported domestic violence is men against women, as much as 15% of victimizations by intimate partners are perpetrated against men.


Domestic violence doesn’t affect teens, only people who are older and married.


Domestic violence can affect teens too–they can be victims of dating violence. Learn more.


Did You Know...

  • More than 32 million Americans affected by domestic violence.
  • More than three women are murdered every day by an intimate partner.
  • Every year the health-related costs of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion dollars.
  • Nearly THREE out of FOUR (71%) personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
  • Domestic violence is the LEADING cause of injury to women ages 15-44.
  • YOUNG WOMEN ages 16-24 experience the highest rate of domestic violence.
  • Every 15 SECONDS a woman is beaten.
  • At least 1 in 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused.
  • 57% of teens know someone who has been abused in a dating relationship.
  • Only 33% of teens who are in an abusive relationship ever told anyone.
  • Individuals who grow up in a violent home tend to marry violent individuals.


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