In a healthy relationship, both partners benefit from not only love, but also mutual respect and support. People who marry, are partners, or become lovers often expect to enter into a relationship that provides them with these things and offers them a sense of security. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In some relationships one partner may attempt to use violence, words, or other actions to control or intimidate the other. This type of behavior is called domestic abuse. Domestic abuse, which is also known as intimate partner abuse, domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, causes the recipient of the controlling or painful action to live in fear of his or her partner. It can also negatively impact all areas of their life from their relationship with family to their work, and can even be deadly.
Because domestic violence often happens in private, family and friends can only truly suspect abuse. Unless a person is willing to come forward, this can be a source of frustration for people who want to help the potential victim. Even when a victim is silent there are often warning signs that present themselves. These signs present themselves in the way that a person behaves and comments that are made. People that are victims of domestic abuse may frequently talk about the possessive mentality or jealousy of their partner and they may call or otherwise report to their spouse or partner regularly to inform them of what they are doing, who they are with, and where they are. Fear of not being able to please their partner or routine anxiousness or nervousness about his or her reaction may also be indicative of domestic abuse. A person who is a victim of domestic abuse often will never contradict their partner and will agree with everything that is said or done regardless of what it is or whether or not it is right or wrong. If a person is a victim of domestic abuse that is physical in nature, there may also be bruises and injuries that occur on a regular basis. These are typically given the excuse of clumsiness or accidents, such as falls. In addition to the presence of bruises, these people may miss events and other social occasions or show up wearing sunglasses that are not removed or concealing clothing. Changes in personality after the onset of a relationship such as withdrawal and depression are also common warning signs, along with no longer visiting family and friends or an inability to go out without the presence of their partner.
- Recognizing the Warning Signs of Domestic Violence and Abuse: Clicking on this link will take readers to the Domestic Violence and Abuse page on the HelpGuide website. This section lists the warning signs of abuse for the different types of domestic abuse.
- Domestic Abuse – Recognizing Domestic Abuse: This link opens up a page on the USDA Department Management website. The page is an overview of domestic abuse and includes a list of warning signs that a person may potentially be an abusive individual.
- Domestic Violence & Abuse – Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships: Click this link to open up a PDF document that details the signs of an abusive relationship and abuser. The page also discusses different types of abuse.
- Domestic Violence Checklist: This is a checklist of behaviors and actions that are typical of an abusive partner. The checklist is designed to help readers recognize warning signs that a person is an abuser.
- Warning Signs of Domestic Abuse: This is a link to The Judicial Branch of Arizona Maricopa County website. On this page is a bullet point list of signs that indicate a person may be in danger of domestic abuse.
- Five Warning Signs of Domestic Violence: This is a PDF document that lists signs that indicate domestic abuse. The article is from the NYC Human Resources Administration.
Hitting, kicking, choking, and other forms of violence are the first things that come to mind when the subject of domestic abuse arises. This is called domestic violence or physical abuse. Although violence receives a large portion of the attention when it comes to domestic abuse, it is not the only type of abuse that a person can endure. Some types of abuse occur without the abuser ever laying a hand on the victim. Emotional abuse is a type of abuse where a person uses words to control or frighten their partner. It may also involve forced isolation, and destroying the victim’s belongings. Sexual abuse is abuse in which a person forces sexual activity on a partner against her or his will. Sexual abuse often goes hand-in-hand with domestic violence. Economic abuse is when a person attempts to control a partner by controlling all finances, what a person is allowed to wear, the home, the food that enters the home, etc.
- Abuse Hurts – Types of Abuse: When clicked this link opens up a page about abuse on the University of Michigan website. The page explains the different types of domestic abuse.
- Domestic Violence – What are the Different Forms of Domestic Violence: This link opens up the domestic violence page on the Ohio State University website. At the center of the page the reader is given a list of the different forms of domestic abuse. The page also includes facts about domestic violence/abuse and how to get help.
- What Types of Abuse are There and How do I Know if I’m Being Abused?: Click on this link to review a list of the different types of domestic abuse. Each type includes a brief explanation.
- Types of Abuse: This list of abuse types is broken into categories that include associated behaviors. The list appears on the Domestic Violence page of the Harvard University Police Department website. Readers will also find a list of warning signs.
- Types of Abuse Chart: On this page readers will find a chart that lists the different types of abuse that fall under the umbrella of domestic abuse. A description of the abuse as well as a list of behaviors that define it are included in the chart.
Who it Affects
Domestic violence is a problem that affects people of all genders, ethnicity, and social standing. It affects both teens and adults. Women make up the majority of victims; however, it is not exclusively a female problem. Men are also often abused by their spouses, lovers, or partners regardless of whether that partner is female or male. While physical abuse does occur, men are more affected by emotional or psychological abuse when it comes from their female partners. Domestic abuse affects not only the person who is being abused, but it also affects the family. Children who live in the home are greatly affected by domestic abuse regardless of whether it is physical or another type. If the child is not abused as well, he or she is affected by the behavior which is typically carried into adulthood. In some cases children who regularly witness domestic abuse may grow into abusers or victims themselves. Family members and friends are also affected by the abuse of a loved one as it often affects their relationships with the individual and may even eventually pose a risk to themselves in certain situations. Even the workplace may be affected when it can affect how an employee does his or her job and can impact the safety of other employees.
- Let’s Talk Facts About Domestic Violence: Click this link to open up a PDF fact sheet on domestic abuse. The fact sheet answers common questions associated with abuse such as who is affected by it.
- Who is Affected by Domestic Violence: Clicking on this link will open up the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence website. The page addresses the types of people who are affected by domestic violence, including specific groups such as people with disabilities and immigrants.
- Office of Justice Programs Fact Sheet on Domestic Violence: This link will open up a page that provides some background on domestic violence/abuse. The background explains who it affects and particularly the effect that it has on children.
- Domestic Violence: A Workplace Issue: This link opens up a page that explains how the workplace is affected by domestic violence. It is broken down into categories that include productivity, health care costs, and workplace safety.
- Domestic Violence and Specific Populations: This page lists highly vulnerable groups of individuals who are affected by domestic abuse. Their vulnerability is explained under each group. For example, People who are a part of the LGBT community may fear homophobia from the police, which may make them less likely to contact the authorities.
Preventing Domestic Abuse
There are a number of ways in which domestic abuse can be prevented. One of the most important ways is through awareness. Communities, schools, and organizations should provide awareness information so that people can learn what the signs of abuse and abusers are. These types of programs can also help to prevent abuse from occurring in the first place by helping the potential abuser learn that there are other options as opposed to violence. Services should also be available to help people who want to leave abusive environments. To prevent further abuse a person may also take actions such as obtaining a restraining order. Neighbors and family members who witness abuse can help by calling law officials.
- How Can Intimate Partner Abuse be Prevented and Stopped?: Click this page to open an article on the MedicineNet website that explains how domestic violence can be prevented. It also lists where to go for help.
- Emerging Strategies in the Prevention of Domestic Violence: This link is to a PDF document about domestic abuse and preventing it. The article gives a number of theories and includes prevention strategies.
- What Can Each of Us Do to Prevent Domestic Violence?: This link opens up a page on the Center for Prevention of Abuse website. The page lists actions that can be taken to help prevent domestic abuse.
- Preventing Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence: This is a PDF brochure that reviews the CDC’s efforts to prevent domestic abuse, which is referred to as intimate partner abuse.
Getting out of an abusive relationship is often difficult. When domestic violence is the problem, a person may fear for their lives if they attempt to leave or accept help. With other forms of abuse the level of control that is held over the victim also may make it difficult for a person to seek and accept help. When the abuser is in control of finances and every other aspect of the victim’s life, the victim may feel frightened to walk away from everything. There are organizations, hotlines, shelters and domestic violence attorneys that are available to help people escape domestic abuse and violence. When searching for help, a person should use caution as the abuser may check one’s history on the computer or review calls made on the cell phone. The National Domestic Violence Hotline and website can help anyone regardless of gender or sexual preference. They do this by offering crisis intervention, assisting with safety planning, and referring victims to service providers and other domestic violence resources in their local area. The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women is another organization that is designed to help both men and women to free themselves from domestic abuse situations.
- The Hotline: This is a website that provides assistance and information to women and men that are victims of domestic abuse. An 800 number is included on the page along with a “Quick Escape” button that allows victims to change the website instantly.
- Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women: This link opens up to a website that provides information and helpline services to both male and female sufferers of domestic abuse.
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – Getting Help: This link opens up the help page for this organization. It provides an 800 number and a link to the State Coalition List.
- How to Help a Loved One: Dos and Don’ts: This link will open a PDF document that is a list of things that friends and family should and should not do when helping a loved one who is a domestic abuse victim.
- How to Help a Friend Who is Being Abused: This page lists ways that people can help friends who are being abused.