What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is the action an abuser uses to gain power or control over their victim.  The abuse may come in many forms including threats, isolation, and sexual assault in order to gain forcible control.  Behaviors may include the following:

*Physical, including pushing, kicking, hitting, chocking, etc.

*Verbal put-downs, name calling, yelling, etc.

*Forced sexual encounter, violence during sexual encounters

*Isolation, i.e., no contact with friends, family, job, etc.

*Injuring pets or destroying property


What should I know about domestic abuse?

Violence against a partner of a child is a crime in all states.  Each year at least 2 million women are abused in this country.  Abuse happens to people of all races, ages, incomes, and religions.  People who are hurt by their partners do not cause the abuse.  Alcohol and drugs do not cause abuse, although they can make the violence worse.


What can I do if my children or I am abused?

*During an argument, stay away from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or areas where weapons might be available.  Try to maintain access to an exit.


*Practice how to safely get out of your home.


*Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the abuse and ask they call the police if they hear a disturbance.


*Devise a code word that you can use with family and friends when you need them to call the police.


*Use your own instincts and judgment.  If the situation is too dangerous, give the abuser what he wants to calm him down.


*Once it is safe, get help!  You have the right to protect yourself!


Tips on police response:

Be as calm as possible, and tell the police about the incident in detail.  Let then know if there were any witnesses or other abusive incidents.  Show them any injuries, bruises, or damages to property.  Take pictures as evidence.  Insist that a report is made.  Always obtain the police officers’ names and badge numbers.