Understanding Domestic Violence

Domestic violence happens when one person in a relationship uses a consistent pattern of “coercive control” to maintain power over their dating partner, intimate partner, co-parent, spouse or “ex.” The abusive person uses harmful tactics that can be very dangerous when they are combined with physical and sexual violence and threats.

People who are abusive often tell the abused person that the abuse is their fault, or that they caused it, or that they are crazy. This is not true. DVHopeline advocates can help you learn if what you are experiencing fits the patterns that are common to abusive relationships and can provide emotional support.

  • Saying things to deliberately hurt or humiliate the abused person
  • Preventing the abused person from connecting with their family, friends and community
  • Controlling access to money, work, and financial decision making
  • Threatening to hurt or kill the abused person and their children or pets or to kill themselves
  • Telling the children that the violence is the abused person’s fault, telling them that the abused person is crazy, threatening to take child custody away
  • Using the abused person’s cultural background to harm them, for example, threatening to “out” an LGBTQ person to their employer or family
  • Threatening to report an immigrant person to ICE, blaming a person’s disability for the abuse, telling a person of color that they are betraying their community for reporting the abuse
  • Using mobile devices or social media to harass, threaten, impersonate, track, monitor or spread false information about the abused person
  • Minimizing or denying the abuse, or blaming the abused person for it

If you are experiencing any of these things, you are not alone. We are here to support you 24/7.

“Freedom from domestic violence is possible for everyone.”

“Survivors of domestic violence display a stunning capacity for survival and perseverance.”

“Asking for help is probably one of the hardest things a person can do, but it’s one of the best things a person can do.”

“Developing support systems and mobilizing resources helps survivors of domestic violence to be resilient and ultimately to recover from domestic violence.”

“Love and care from trusted adults, and a safe and predictable environment help children and young people heal from domestic violence.”

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