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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence under the penal code is defined as abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.

Have you or someone you know ever experienced the following by an intimate partner?

  • name-calling or put downs
  • isolation from family or friends
  • withholding of money
  • actual or threatened physical harm
  • sexual assault
  • destroyed property and actual or threatened harm to pets

These are examples of domestic violence, which includes partner violence, spousal abuse, child abuse, battering, and wife beating. This violence can take many forms, such as physical, emotional/psychological, sexual, and financial. It can also happen once in a while or all the time. Although each situation is different, there are common warning signs or "red-flag behaviors" to look out for, including those behaviors listed above.  Knowing these signs is an important step in preventing and stopping abuse.

The lists below identifies a series of behaviors typically demonstrated by batterers and abusive people. All of these forms of abuse - psychological, economic, and physical come from the batterer's desire for power and control. The list can help you recognize if you or someone you know is in a violent relationship.

Emotional and Economic Attacks

  • Destructive criticism or verbal attacks: name-calling, mocking, accusing, blaming, yelling, swearing, making humiliating remarks or gestures.
  • Pressure tactics: rushing you to make decisions through guilt-tripping and other forms of intimidation, sulking, threatening to withhold money, manipulating the children, telling you what to do.
  • Abusing authority: always claiming to be right (insisting statements are "the truth"), bossing you around, making big decision, using "logic."
  • Disrespect: interrupting, changing topics, not listening or responding, twisting your words, putting you down in front of other people, saying bad things about your friends and family.
  • Abusing trust: lying, withholding information, cheating on you, being overly jealous.
  • Breaking promises: not following through on agreements, not taking a fair share of the responsibility, refusing to help with child care or housework.
  • Emotional withholding: not expressing feelings; not giving support, attention, or compliments; not respecting feelings, rights or opinions.
  • Minimizing, denying and blaming: making light of behavior and not taking your concerns about it seriously, saying the abuse didn't happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying you caused it.
  • Economic control: interfering with your work or not letting you work, refusing to give you or taking your money, taking your car keys or preventing you from using the car, threatening to report you to welfare of other social service agencies.
  • Self-destructive behavior: abusing drugs or alcohol, threatening suicide or other forms of self-harm, deliberately saying or doing things that will have negative consequences (e.g., telling off the boss).
  • Isolation: preventing or making it difficult for you to see friends or relatives, monitoring phone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go.
  • Harassment: making uninvited visits or calls, following you, checking up on you, embarrassing you in public, refusing to leave when asked.

Acts of Violence

  • Intimidation: making angry or threatening gestures, use of physical size to intimidate, standing in doorway during arguments, out-shouting you, driving recklessly.
  • Destruction: destroying your possessions, punching walls, throwing and or breaking things.
  • Threats: making and or carrying out threats to hurt you or others.
  • Sexual violence: degrading treatment or discrimination based on your sex or sexual orientation; using force, threats, or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts.
  • Physical violence: being violent to you, your children, household pets, or others; e. g., slapping, punching, grabbing, kicking, choking, pushing, biting, burning, stabbing or shooting.
  • Weapons: use of weapons, keeping weapons around which frighten you, threatening or attempting to kill you or those you love.