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What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Domestic violence can include physical, emotional, psychological, economic, and/or sexual abuse. Abusers use threats, intimidation, isolation, and other behaviors to gain and maintain power over their victims.
Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Domestic violence occurs in same-sex relationships, and men can be victims as well.
Other terms for domestic violence include intimate partner violence, battering, relationship abuse, spousal abuse, or family violence.

Domestic Violence: What are Some Signs?

• Physical abuse such as slapping, kicking, hitting, shoving, or other physical force.
• Sexual abuse including rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, or interfering with birth control.
• Emotional abuse such as shouting, name-calling, humiliation, constant criticism, or harming the victim’s relationship with her or his children.
• Psychological abuse including threats to harm the victims' family, friends, children, co-workers, or pets, isolation, mind games, destruction of victims' property, or stalking.
• Economic abuse such as controlling the victim’s money, withholding money for basic needs, interfering with school or job, or damaging the victim’s credit.

Several or all of the above forms of violence and abuse may take place.

Other Types: Elder Abuse & Abuse of Persons with Disabilities

Elder abuse is the mistreatment of an elderly person by a family member or caregiver. Abuse of people with disabilities occurs when an intimate partner, family member, or caregiver abuses someone—of any age—who has a disability. As with domestic violence, elder abuse and abuse of people with disabilities can include physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological abuse, financial exploitation, and/or neglect, including the denial of basic needs such as food and medical care.

Remember that no one - not your caretaker, not a family member - has the right to:
• Deny you meals or medication
• Hide or break your eyeglasses, hearing aid, or false teeth
• Threaten to hurt you or your children, friends, family members, or pets
• Humiliate, be cruel, or speak harshly to you
• Keep you away from friends and family
• Take your Social Security checks
• Spend your rent or food money
• Steal your belongings
• Hit, beat, push or restrain you
• Force you to have sexual contact
• Keep you locked up

Remember, you are not to blame. You have a right to be safe and feel secure in your own home.

Other Types: Teen Dating Violence

Dating violence can happen among young people, and can affect youth regardless of social, economic, racial, ethnic, gender, or sexual orientation differences. According to a study, girls and women between the ages of 16 and 24 are at greatest risk of becoming domestic violence victims, and experience abuse at a rate three times greater than other groups.

Other Types: Child Abuse

Child abuse, or child maltreatment, is an act by a parent, caretaker, sibling, family member, or other person that results in physical or emotional harm to a child. Emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect are all different forms of child maltreatment.

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