Although over 10 million U.S. adults experience domestic violence annually, it can affect everyone regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality.
Get the Facts
- Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, economic, and emotional/psychological abuse.
- Every year millions of children are exposed to domestic violence.
- Domestic violence is prevalent in every community and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality.
- Physical violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior as part of a much larger, systematic pattern of dominance and control.
- Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death.
- An average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually.
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner, and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused by an intimate partner.
- The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying lock-downs, social distancing, and other mitigation measures have only exacerbated domestic violence.
Know the Warning Signs of Partner Abuse in a Relationship
- Telling you that you never do anything right.
- Showing extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away from them.
- Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers.
- Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
- Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school.
- Controlling finances in the household without discussion, including taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses.
- Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
- Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.
- Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
- Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.
- Destroying your belongings or your home.
Know the Warning Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect
- Child abuse and neglect is any harm to a child that is not an accident.
- Child abuse and neglect are also called child maltreatment.
- Neglect is when parents or caregivers fail to ensure a child’s health and well-being.
- Neglect may result from not providing a child with appropriate shelter, schooling, clothing, medical care, or protection from hazards.
- Physical abuse causes bodily injuries, such as bruises, burns, fractures, cuts, punctures, or organ damage.
- Physical abuse includes harming a fetus, such as when a pregnant woman has substance use disorder or is purposefully injured.
- Emotional (psychological) abuse is a repeated pattern of intentional verbal or behavioral actions or lack of actions toward a child that give the message that he or she is worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value to meet someone else’s needs.
- Withholding emotional support, isolating, or terrorizing a child are forms of emotional abuse.
- Intimate partner (domestic) violence that is witnessed by a child is also considered a form of emotional abuse.
- Sexual abuse is any act with a child that is intended to sexually gratify an older child or adult. It includes any sexual activity that a child does not comprehend or consent to, or that is against the law. Exhibitionism, voyeurism, and exposing a child to pornography are also types of sexual abuse.
- You suspect child abuse. Call your local child or adult protective agency, police, or a health professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or counselor.
What should you do if you’re being abused?
- It’s important to get help. Talk with someone you trust, such as a friend, a help center, or your doctor. Talking with someone can help you make the changes you need.
- Your first step is to contact a local advocacy group for support, information, and advice on how to stay safe. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) for the nearest program. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English, Spanish, and other languages.
- You can also see the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website at https://ncadv.org/resources to find programs that offer shelter and legal support.
- Know your legal rights. Consider asking the police for help.
- Make sure that you know phone numbers you can call and places you can go in an emergency.
- Teach your children not to get in the middle of a fight.
- If you think you may leave, make a plan to help keep you safe. This will help when you are getting ready to leave. Your plan might include:
- Putting together and hiding a suitcase of clothing, copies of your car and house keys, money or credit cards, and important papers, such as Social Security cards and birth certificates for you and your children. Keep the suitcase hidden in your home or leave it with friends or family or at work if possible.
- Open a savings account or get a credit card, if you can do so in secret.
- If you are a teen, talk to a trusted adult, such as your parents, family friend, or school counselor. You can also call the National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline toll-free: 1-866-331-9474.
What should you do if you know someone who is being abused?
- Be a good listener and a caring friend.
- Remind the person that no one deserves to be treated this way.
- Let the person know that the abuse is against the law and that help is available.
- Help the person make a plan to stay safe.
- You can also suggest that the person call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) to find a local domestic violence support group.
- Keep in mind that the person may not want or be ready to leave. He or she probably knows the abuser best and knows what options are safest. But it is important for victims of abuse to know where they can get help.
Why do victims stay?
People who are not abused might find it hard to understand why anyone would stay in a violent relationship. Some people think that if a person stays in an abusive relationship, she or he must be weak or needy. This is not true. There is more to this issue than simply leaving or staying. A woman may fear that the abuser will hurt her and her children or take her children away. She may have limited financial options. She may blame herself. She may stay for religious reasons or because she does not want to break up the family. Also, she may still love her abuser and hope that things will get better. The abuser may threaten self-harm or suicide. Men who are being abused may have similar feelings.
Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit www.communityhealthnet.org for more information.
Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.
Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.