What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.


Abuse can include any or all of the following:  physical, sexual, emotional, economic/financial or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another 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. It can happen to couples who are married, living together, or dating, during the relationship or after separation. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. 


If you are experiencing any one of the behaviors listed below,
you may be a victim of domestic violence.


Emotional Abuse

​You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner: 

  • Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you.

  • Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive.

  • Tries to isolate you from family or friends.

  • Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with.

  • Does not want you to work or go to school.

  • Controls finances or refuses to share money.

  • Punishes you by withholding affection.

  • Expects you to ask permission.

  • Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets.

  • Threatens to “out you” to family members or co-workers.

  • Reinforces internalized homophobia, transphobia, or biphobia.

  • Humiliates you in any way.


Physical Abuse

You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner has ever:

  • Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).

  • Pushed, punched, slapped, bitten, kicked or strangled you

  • Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.

  • Scared you by driving recklessly or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you.

  • Forced you to leave your home.

  • Trapped you in your home or kept you from leaving.

  • Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.

  • Hurt your children.

  • Used physical force in sexual situations.


Economic/Financial Abuse

You may be in a financially abusive relationship if you partner:

  • Forbids you to work.

  • Sabotages work or employment opportunities by stalking or harassing you at the workplace or causing you lose your job by physically battering prior to important meetings or interviews.

  • Forbids you from attending job training or advancement opportunities.

  • Controls how all of the money is spent.

  • Does not include you in investment or banking decisions.

  • Does not allow you access to bank accounts.

  • Withholds money or gives “an allowance.”

  • Forces you to write bad checks or file fraudulent tax returns.

  • Runs up large amounts of debt on joint accounts.

  • Refuses to work or contribute to the family income.

  • Withholds funds for you or your children to obtain basic needs such as food and medicine.

  • Hides assets

  • Steals your identity, property, or inheritance.

  • Refuses to pay bills and ruins your credit score.

  • Forces you to turn over public benefits or threatens to turn the victim in for “cheating or misusing benefits.”

  • Files false insurance claims.

  • Refuses to pay or evades child support or manipulates the divorce process by drawing it out by hiding or not disclosing assets.

Sexual Abuse

​You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles or defines gender roles.

  • Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.

  • Wants you to dress in a sexual way.

  • Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names.

  • Has ever forced or manipulated you into having sex or performing sexual acts you did not want to do.

  • Held you down during sex against your will.

  • Demanded sex when you were sick, tired, or after beating you.

  • Hurt you with weapons or objects during sex.

  • Involved other people in sexual activities with you.

  • Ignored your feelings regarding sex.