Domestic Violence

Domestic violence does not discriminate. It can affect anyone regardless of their race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education, or economic status. It involves a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain control over another partner in an intimate relationship.

Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical violence, emotional abuse, financial control, and manipulation. It is important to recognize what constitutes abuse and understand examples of healthy relationships to make the best decisions for yourself. Remember, domestic violence is not just physical violence and that ending the harm and stigma surrounding it requires awareness and education.

Danger Assessment

Many factors are associated with an increased risk of homicide in violent relationships. Predicting what will happen in any relationship is impossible, but the following questions may help you see risk factors in your relationship.

Have you experienced the following in your relationship?

  • Has physical violence increased in severity or frequency over the past year?
  • Does your partner own a gun?
  • Have you left your partner after living together in the past year?
  • Is your partner unemployed?
  • Has your partner ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a lethal weapon?
  • If yes, was that weapon a gun?
  • Does your partner threaten to kill you?
  • Has your partner avoided being arrested for domestic violence?
  • Do you have a child from a different partner?
  • Has your partner ever forced you to have sex when you did not wish to do so?
  • Does your partner choke/ strangle you or cut off your breathing?
  • If yes, has this happened multiple times? Did it make you pass out, black out, or make you dizzy?
  • Does your partner use illegal drugs?
  • Do you think your partner is an alcoholic or problem drinker?
  • Does your partner control most or all of your daily activities? (For example, do they tell you who you can be friends with, when you can see your family, how much money you can use, or when you can take the car?)
  • Is your partner violently and constantly jealous of you? (For example,  "If I can't have you, nobody can.")
  • Have you ever been beaten by your partner while you were pregnant?
  • Has your partner ever threatened or tried to commit suicide?
  • Does your partner threaten to harm your children?
  • Does your partner follow or spy on you, leave threatening notes or messages, destroy your property, or call you when you don't want them to?
  • Have you ever threatened or tried to commit suicide?

If you've answered yes to any of these questions, please contact a local domestic violence resource center to learn about options to secure your safety.

Safety Planning

Leaving a violent relationship is dangerous. Consider the following: 

  • Call your local DV resource center or hotline to ask for advice. Make the call at a safe time, when the abusive partner is not around, from a friend's house or other safe location.
  • Pack an emergency bag with items you'll need when you leave, such as extra clothes and keys. Leave the bag in a safe place. Keep important personal papers, money, and prescription medications handy so you can take them on short notice.
  • Make a plan of where you will go and how you will get there.

For more information on safety planning, see the Protective Order Advocacy and Representation Project (POARP) and Resources pages. 

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