Domestic Violence

What is the Definition of Domestic Violence?

Family violence is abuse that occurs between family members or between unmarried partners. One person in the relationship gains power and control over the other by using physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. Family violence can occur between husbands, wives, ex-spouses, dating partners, adult children and aging or ailing parents, parents and children, or caregivers and clients. However, the vast majority of victims are women. The abusive behavior can take several different forms.

Types of Abuse:

• Physical Abuse: Includes kicking, biting, pushing, choking, hair pulling, physical restraint, assault with weapons, torturing, burning, confining or physically hurting another person in other ways.

• Material Abuse: Includes misuse, theft, or extortion of another person’s money, property, or possessions.

• Sexual Abuse: Includes any forced sexual activity including marital rape, physical attacks on sexual parts of the body, fondling, incest, forced sodomy, and other forms of sexual abuse.

• Emotional/Psychological Abuse: Involves systematically destroying the other person’s self-esteem by doing any of the following:

  1. Manipulation or “playing games”
  2. Intimidation using hard looks, a loud voice, gestures, and actions, or destroying the person’s personal belongings
  3. Degradation, humiliation, name-calling, or belittling
  4. Threatening harm to the person or loved ones, suicide, destruction of property, abandonment, or deprivation of basic needs, such as food or clothing
  5. Extreme controlling behavior (attempts to control the person’s behavior and restrict contact with others)
  6. Involuntary servitude (forcing an adult person to perform any task and/or forcing a child to perform inappropriate or inhumane tasks)
  7. Habitual scapegoating and blaming