Frequently Asked Question
Domestic violence or family violence is the abuse of power or control. It is behavior used by one person to control another through force or threats. A batterer makes a choice to strike, hit, kick, punch, or threaten the victim.
Domestic violence includes physical and sexual attacks and threats. These violent acts are criminal and the batterer can be prosecuted for committing them. These acts are a means of controlling the victim's thoughts, feelings and behavior. The violence does not lessen over time; in fact, the threats and beatings generally happen more often with time, last longer and cause greater physical injuries.
Emotional abuse and insulting words are almost always part of the abuse pattern, but are not considered criminal acts. The wounds from these injuries, however, may be more difficult to heal. Domestic violence is not caused by or provoked by the actions or inactions of the victim.
Domestic violence is not directly caused by alcohol or drug abuse, depression, lack of money, lack of a job, mental illness, or abuse as a child. However, existing problems often create additional stress in a relationship, and may increase the risk of violence. Many abusers blame the victim or other things for their violent acts, and do not take responsibility for the abusive behavior. There is never an excuse for violence.