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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Doesn’t Discriminate

Domestic violence occurs at similar rates in same-sex and heterosexual relationships. In heterosexual relationships, most perpetrators of domestic violence are men abusing female partners. Abusers and survivors of domestic violence may be of any age, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, race, culture, class, economic status, ability, education or any other group of people.

Domestic Violence Fact Sheet

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used by one person to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner or an ex-partner. It occurs in both dating and long-term relationships. Tactics may include physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse, isolation, coercion, and intimidation. Over time, domestic violence results in a significant gap in power and personal freedom between an abusive partner and a victim or survivor. Abuse impacts every aspect of a relationship and of a survivor’s life including mental and physical health, friend and family relationships, parenting, and financial status.  It also has long-lasting effects on the family and community.

Domestic Violence: Cause and Effect

  • Abuse is a learned behavior and a choice, rooted in an abuser’s beliefs.  Abusers frequently see their behavior as justified and/or harmless.
  • Over time, abusers often escalate their tactics. An abuser who uses verbal and emotional abuse will frequently begin to use intimidation, coercion, and sometimes physical and/or sexual violence at some point in the relationship.
  • Abusers frequently continue to be abusive or can escalate their tactics after a victim attempts to end the relationship.
  • Domestic Violence is not caused by substance abuse, lack of relationship skills, or mental health issues.
  • See examples of abusive tactics on the Power and Control Wheel.

Click to enlarge "Power and Control Wheel"

Other Resources

Census 2015

On September 16, 2015, 1,752 out of 1,894 (93%) identified domestic violence programs in the United States participated in the 2015 National Census of Domestic Violence Services. The following figures represent the information provided by 1,752 participating programs about services provided during the 24-hour survey period.

71,828 Victims Served in One Day

  • 40,302 domestic violence victims found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local domestic violence programs.
  • 31,526 adults and children received non-residential assistance and services, including counseling, legal advocacy, and children’s support groups.
  • 21,332 hotline calls answered
  • 27,708 individuals educated on domestic violence,
  • 12,197 Unmet Requests for Services in One Day, of Which 63% (7,728) Were for Housing

Victims made more than 12,000 requests for services— including emergency shelter, housing, transportation, childcare, legal representation, and more—that could not be provided because programs did not have the resources to provide these services. In addition to housing and emergency shelter, programs reported that the service requests they could not meet were housing advocacy, legal representation, and financial assistance.

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