What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one person to control another person in the context of an intimate or family relationship. The abuse can be physical, sexual and or emotional. As the most common form of violence and the least reported crime, it occurs in families of all races, religions, educational levels and income groups, and can take many forms or combinations, such as physical, verbal, sexual, and emotional or mental cruelty.

Types of Domestic Violence

Physical Abuse: may involve pushing, shoving, hitting, choking, confining or assaulting with an object or weapon.

Emotional Abuse: may involve intimidation, threats, humiliation, insults, pressure, destruction of property, control over a partner’s movement or isolation.

Sexual Abuse: may involve sexual relations without consent, unwanted sexual touching or pressure to engage in humiliating or degrading sexual activity.

Human Trafficking: Moving people across borders for the purpose of sexual exploitation for commercial purposes or forced labor.

“Abusive or coercive behaviors may include, but are not limited to, physical assaults, verbal assaults, threats, intimidation, use of weapons, destruction of property, violence toward other significant people or pets, sexual manipulation, and control over economic resources.” Domestic violence as defined by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Alliance.

Warning Signs of Abuse

  • Name-calling and put-downs
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Making excuses for the abuser
  • Constant monitoring by abuser
  • Uncontrolled anger
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Isolation from friends and family