What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.
Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
Domestic violence includes behaviors that cause physical harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring within the same intimate relationship.
Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.
In fact, many abusive partners may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.
Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different things to have more power and control over their partner.
Some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:
- Tells you that you can never do anything right
- Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
- Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
- Controls every penny spent in the household
- Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses
- Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
- Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Prevents you from making your own decisions
- Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
- Prevents you from working or attending school
- Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol
Explore the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) website to learn more about common warning signs of each type of abuse. Remember, each type of abuse is serious, and no one deserves to experience abuse of any kind, for any reason. If you have concerns about what’s happening in your relationship, reach out to a local domestic violence program or the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH).
Information excerpted from the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH).
For more information about domestic violence on topics such as: Why Do People Abuse?, LGBTQ , Abuse & Immigrants , Pregnancy & Abuse , and What is a Healthy Relationship? search the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) resource pages.
Work Happening in Washington State
To learn about work happening in Washington State or to access statistics, publications, and training materials, visit the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV).