Select Page

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling, dominant behavior that may be physical, emotional, psychological, verbal, sexual, technological or financial.
  • Woman looking out windowIt usually occurs in an intimate relationship.
  • It is a pattern of behavior in which one person uses tactics of abuse and control to maintain dominance and power over the other.
  • It becomes more severe as time goes on
  • The victim, usually a female, is afraid and often changes her daily activities because of the abuse.

Domestic Violence (DV), also called Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a pattern of coercive, controlling, dominant behavior that takes many forms, including physical, emotional, psychological, verbal, sexual, technological and financial.

It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality.

Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and in severe cases, even death. The devastating physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.

Domestic violence or intimate partner violence are abusive relationships that are characterized by a “pattern” that gets worse over time. One partner tries to dominate or control the other; their behaviors are intentional. Many abusers often use the same tactics as though following a script. The script starts with a honeymoon period: seduce and charm. The second tactic is to isolate the victim from family and friends. And third, to introduce the threat of violence and see how the victim reacts.

Little by little the relationship goes from healthy to unhealthy to abusive —often with honeymoon periods in between — before it is finally recognized by the victim. By then, victims are emotionally invested, often isolated, and there is a long list of reasons why it is difficult to break free. What seemed like love has now become a complicated psychological and sometimes financial trap.


  • Psychological battering
    • Isolation (keeping the victim away from connections with family, friends and others who are part of her support network)
  • Manipulation
    • Verbal humiliation and degradation
    • Damaging property
    • Threats of harm to victim, others, self, pets, property
    • Stalking
  • Economic Oppression (controlling the money)
  • Sexual and/or social humiliation
  • Physical assaults (including sexual) can range anywhere from shoving to using weapons.

Abuse is about power, it means that one person is taking advantage to exploit or control another. It can sneak up and may start with subtle disrespect, jealousy and control.

Domestic Violence destroys the body, the spirit, the family, and the future. Victims may often feel scared, confused, dependent, insecure and ashamed to let anyone know about intimate family problems, but abuse thrives in silence.


  • Bruises and other signs of physical violence
  • Shaking and fear when victim is around abuser
  • Change in victim’s behavior. Lack of eye contact. Acting scared, insecure or ashamed.
  • Needing to ‘report in’ to abuser. On a short leash.

No one has the right to be abusive and there is no such thing as a “deserved” beating — psy-chological or physical. The only person responsible for the tragedy of domestic violence is the abuser. Intervention is key to stopping this insidious cycle.

Emotional and psychological abuse can often be just as extreme, and lack of physical violence does not mean the abuser is any less dangerous to the victim — nor does it mean the victim is any less trapped by the abuse.

Recent statistics show that after a long pattern of psychological, verbal and emotional abuse, if the abuser suddenly brings physical violence into the relationship, it may result in death.

Physical or sexual assault of an intimate partner – or the threat of – is a crime.

As soon as you start to have questions about abuse we urge you to call our 24-hour Hotline at 860-527-0550, English. VIDA Spanish Hotlline: 888-774-2900. Translations services are available for other languages.

Don’t wait until you’re certain. If any warning signs are there, act quickly! The more deeply you become involved with an abuser, the harder it is to get out.