Advocates ACVPN

Domestic Violence


Domestic Violence is any form of maltreatment that takes place in a heterosexual or homosexual romantic relationship between adults or adolescents.

This form of abuse is a major public health problem Also known as Intimate partner, abuse has been and, in some ways, continues to be endorsed in all societies through legal sanctioning of the subjugation of women.

While domestic abuse strikes couples of all races, religions, social economic status, and sexual orientations, risk factors for men or women becoming victims or abusers include poverty, lack of a high school education, witnessing family violence as a child, having a low sense of self-worth, and attitudes of male domination and substance abuse, especially alcohol abuse. 



Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the most recognizable form of domestic violence. It involves the use of force against the victim, causing injury (a punch or a kick, stabbing, shooting, choking, slapping, forcing you to use drugs, etc.). However, the injury doesn't need to be a major one. For example, your abuser slaps you a few times, causing only minor injuries that don't require a visit to the hospital. Although the injury is minimal, the slapping would constitute domestic violence.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a common form of domestic violence. It includes not only sexual assault and rape, but also harassment, such as unwelcome touching and other demeaning behaviors. Many victims don't realize how broadly sexual abuse is interpreted. For example, if you've ever been coerced into not using contraception (the pill, a condom, an IUD, etc.) or having an abortion, then you may have actually been sexually abused. This form of abuse is known as reproductive coercion.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse involves the destruction of the victim's self-worth, and is brought about by persistent insult, humiliation, or criticism. Emotional abuse can be a difficult type of domestic violence for many people to understand, since, on the surface, it appears to be quite common in unhealthy relationships. In most states, emotional abuse is not enough on its own to bring a domestic violence action unless the abuse is so persistent and so significant that the relationship can be labeled extremely coercive. Typically, evidence of emotional abuse is combined with other abuse (physical, financial, sexual, or psychological) to bring a domestic violence action.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse is basically a catchall term for intimidating, threatening, or fear-causing behavior. This behavior must be persistent and significant. A one-time event generally won't be enough to bring a domestic violence action. Like emotional abuse, psychological abuse may not, on its own, be enough to bring a domestic violence action unless it's especially severe.

Financial Abuse

Of the types of domestic violence, financial abuse is perhaps the least obvious. Financial abuse may take on many forms, such as a husband preventing his wife from obtaining an education or a job outside the home. Financial abuse is extremely common, particularly when families have pooled their money into joint accounts (with one partner controlling) and where there's little or no family support system to help. Financial abuse is simply another form of control, even though it is usually less obvious than physical or sexual abuse. Often, the victim is completely dependent on their partner for money. With no access to money except through the abusive partner, the victim is completely at the abusive partner's mercy. The abusive partner may withhold money for food, clothing, and more. If children are involved, this can overlap with neglect.


Although some types of domestic violence are more likely to be the basis for legal action, all forms are harmful to the victim. If you think you're in a domestic violence situation, you should seek help. Reach out to an experienced family law attorney to learn how you can protect yourself.