What is domestic violence?

Definition of domestic violence

Domestic violence is the systematic use of physical, emotional, economic, spiritual, and/or sexual abuse tactics to gain and maintain power and control in an intimate relationship. power and control wheel


Domestic violence affects every community across the country, regardless of ethnic group, culture, or background. People of all ages, income levels, faiths, sexual orientations, gender, and education levels experience domestic violence.

Domestic violence isolates the person being abused and can rob inner strength, feelings of self-worth and the ability to make personal choices. Often people experiencing abuse begin to feel responsible for the abuse.

Domestic violence is not a private matter, a family problem, a domestic “squabble” or a “fight.” It is not a momentary loss of temper or the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Abusers choose to use tactics of violence repeatedly to gain power and control.

Exposure to domestic violence traumatizes children and can destroy their ability to feel safe in the world as well as cause them to feel responsible for the abuse.