SVU - Domestic Violence

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What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence, also known as partner abuse, spouse abuse, or battering, occurs when one person uses force to inflict injury, either emotional or physical, upon another person they have, or had, a relationship with. It occurs between spouses and partners, parents and children, children and grandparents, and brothers and sisters. Victims can any age, race, or gender.


For help, victims of domestic violence should talk to their physicians or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

Characteristics of domestic violence:
  • Have ever been hit, kicked, shoved or threatened with violence.
  • Feel that you have no choice about how you spend your time, where you go or what you wear.
  • Have been accused by your partner of things you've never done.
  • Must ask your partner for permission to make everyday decisions.
  • Feel bad about yourself because your partner calls you names, insults you or puts you down.
  • Limit time with your family and friends because of your partner's demands.
  • Submit to sexual intercourse or engage in sexual acts against your will.
  • Accept your partner's decisions because you're afraid of ensuing anger.
  • Are accused of being unfaithful.
  • Change your behavior in an effort to not anger your partner.

Different types of domestic violence:

Emotional Domestic Abuse
  • Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you.
  • Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive.
  • Tries to isolate you from family or friends.
  • Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with.
  • Does not want you to work.
  • Controls finances or refuses to share money.
  • Punishes you by withholding affection.
  • Expects you to ask permission.
  • Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets.
  • Humiliates you in any way.

Physical Domestic Abuse
  • Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).
  • Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you.
  • Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
  • Scared you by driving recklessly.
  • Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you.
  • Forced you to leave your home.
  • Trapped you in your home or kept you from leaving.
  • Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
  • Hurt your children.
  • Used physical force in sexual situations.

Sexual Domestic Abuse
  • Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
  • Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
  • Wants you to dress in a sexual way.
  • Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names.
  • Has ever forced or manipulated you into to having sex or performing sexual acts.
  • Held you down during sex.
  • Demanded sex when you were sick, tired or after beating you.
  • Hurt you with weapons or objects during sex.
  • Involved other people in sexual activities with you.
  • Ignored your feelings regarding sex.

Domestic violence statistics:
  • 4 million American women experience a serious assault by a partner during an average 12-month period.
  • On the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.
  • 92% of women say that reducing domestic violence and sexual assault should be at the top of any formal efforts taken on behalf of women today.
  • 1 out of 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
  • 1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. Abused girls are significantly more likely to get involved in other risky behaviors. They are 4 to 6 times more likely to get pregnant and 8 to 9 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide.
  • 1 in 3 teens reports knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, slapped, choked or physically hurt by his/her partner.
  • Women of all races are equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner.
  • 37% of all women who sought care in hospital emergency rooms for violence–related injuries were injured by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Some estimates say almost 1 million incidents of violence occur against a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend per year.
  • For 30% of women who experience abuse, the first incident occurs during pregnancy.
  • As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy.
  • Violence against women costs companies $72.8 million annually due to lost productivity.
  • 74% of employed battered women were harrassed by their partner while they were at work.

How big is the problem?

Domestic violence is the single largest cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than muggings, car accidents, and rapes combined. Each year between 2 million and 4 million women are battered, and 2,000 of these battered women will die of their injuries. Violence against men by women is also a problem, according to the August 2000 Annals of Emergency Medicine. In a study of an inner city hospital, men reported slightly more physical violence than women (20 percent of men and 19 percent of women), although women reported significantly more past and present nonphysical violence than men. Violence against women is an urgent public health problem with devastating consequences for women, children, and families. According to the U. S. Department of Justice, an intimate person - a husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend - commits 29 percent of all violence against women by a single offender. Nearly 18 percent of women surveyed, or 17.7 million American women, have been raped or been a victim of attempted rape during their lifetime, according to a collaborative study on violence jointly funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice.

Who are the major victims?
There is no typical victim. Domestic violence occurs among all ages, races, and socioeconomic classes. It occurs in families of all educational backgrounds. Individuals may be living together or separated, divorced or prohibited from contact by temporary or permanent restraining orders.


Abuse is:

  • Calling bad names or putting someone down
  • Shouting and cursing
  • Hitting, slapping and/or pushing
  • Making threats of any kind
  • Jealously and suspicion
  • Keeping someone away from family and friends
  • Throwing things around the house

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