domestic violence

Domestic violence can be summarized as defined by the FBI as “behavior in which one intimate partner uses physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, and emotional, sexual, or economic abuse to control the other partner in a relationship.”1

Behavior used by one person in a relationship to hurt or dominate the other. Domestic violence can include physical violence and sexual assault (which are crimes that can be prosecuted), intimidation, emotional abuse, and isolating the victim from others. Applies to partners whether they are married or unmarried, straight or gay, living together or simply dating.2

  • Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, and occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds and economic levels.
  • Emotional abuse is also a form of domestic abuse where threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking is exhibited in the relationship.4
  • Domestic violence is one of the fastest growing problems that are faced primarily by women today. Domestic violence and abuse has been in the news more frequently recently, but it is still a crime that most victims keep silent about.
  • Most victims keep silent about the abuse due to fear of retaliation.1
  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.


  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.


  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.


  • On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
  • The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.


  • Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.


  • 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.


  • Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.3

Does your partner:

  • Act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • Hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • Threaten suicide if you leave?
  • Force you to have sex?
  • Control where you go or what to do?
  • Keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • Constantly check on you?
  • Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?4
  • Do they uses substance abuse as an excuse for what they does: “The alcohol made me do it”?
  • Inability to handle frustration — they blow up and explode at small things, and react with a tantrum over minor things.5

People who are being abused may:

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car4

Tips for helping a friend:

  • Talk to them about what you see and assure them that you are concerned. Tell them that you believe them and that it is not their fault.
  • Encourage them not to confront their partner if they are planning to leave. Their safety must be protected.
  • Offer to provide childcare while they seek help.
  • Offer your home as a safe haven to them, their children and pets. If they accept your offer, do not let their partner in.
  • Encourage them to pack a small bag with important items and keep it stored at your home in case they need it.
  • Know that you or they can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a local shelter, or, in an emergency, the police.

Tips to help yourself:

  • The first step toward exiting an abusive relationship involves simply recognizing the abuse and understanding the abuse is never the victim’s fault. Realizing this is the key to getting out of an abusive situation.
  • Documenting abuse is incredibly important, especially if you’re married or have children—you’ll need that evidence later to ensure that you and your children receive adequate protection.
  • Pack an emergency overnight back that contains clothing, toiletries, money, any medication you may be on, and copies of any keys you might need. You may also wish to keep a folder of your legal documentation, such as your birth certificate and social security card. Include anything else you think you might need while away from home. Hide this bag somewhere it will not be found by the abuser, or, even better, keep it at a trusted friend’s or neighbor’s home, or at your workplace.
  • Set money aside. This is especially important if you don’t have much work experience, or if your abuser controls your finances. Abusive relationships inevitably end, and you don’t want to be left with nothing when you’re heading out the door in the middle of the night.
  • Alert friends and family. If you’re in an abusive relationship, you need your support structure now more than ever.7


If you are a victim of domestic abuse or know someone who is a victim, please:

  • Call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Or visit and chat with those who can help at

For more information about Domestic Abuse visit The Recovery Village Domestic Violence Resources.