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What is domestic violence?

Authored By: Community Legal Education With an Edge (CLEWE) LSC Funded

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is more than just somebody beating you up. You can be living in danger and fear or be controlled by someone close to you because of the way they treat you. You can be a victim of domestic violence and never have been physically harmed. Domestic violence can happen only once, but usually happens over and over again.

Here are some of the types of domestic violence:

Use of emotional or psychological control.

  • Calling you names, screaming and yelling at you, making vulgar or embarrassing comments to you, putting you down all the time, failing to support your decisions
  • Acting jealously (especially early in your relationship) or being overprotective of you
  • Keeping you from friends and family
  • Humiliating or embarrassing you in front of others
  • Not allowing you to set your own schedule

Use of economic control

  • Not allowing you to see the household bank accounts or credit card accounts
  • Not letting you know how much money he or she makes
  • Controlling all of the household money
  • Forcing you to say how you spent your money and taking money away from the you without your permission
  • Stopping you from finding or keeping a job or from going to school
  • Not paying for your medications, health insurance or doctors' bills

Use of threats

  • Threatening to report you to the police or Child Protective Services (CPS) for something which did not happen
  • Threatening to harm or kidnap the children or get custody of them if you leave
  • Threatening looks and actions
  • Using anger or "loss of temper" as a threat to get you to do what he or she wants
  • Threatening to tell your sexual orientation to friends, family or your employer
  • Threatening to tell secrets you have told them

Use of physical violence

  • Hurting you, your children, pets, family or friends
  • Destroying your personal property or throwing things around
  • Grabbing, pushing, hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, choking or biting you
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Stopping you from taking medication or getting medical care
  • Keeping you from eating, drinking or sleeping

These are some common forms of domestic violence, but are not the only ones. If you are feeling afraid or controlled in a bad way by someone close to you or someone you were close with at one time it could be domestic violence.

Although much domestic violence is against the law, not all of the things that someone does to make you afraid or to control you are illegal. You may find that the only way to stop the domestic violence which is happening to you is to involve the police or go to court.
 

Last Review and Update: Jan 15, 2017
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