What is Domestic Violence?Domestic violence is the use of a pattern of abuse to maintain power and control in a familiar relationship. Abuse affects all populations, regardless of their age, race, sex, nationality, religion, ability, socioeconomic status, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
- Physical Abuse: Use of physical force in a way that injures or puts others at risk of injury
- Emotional Abuse: Use of words, tone, actions, or lack of action meant to control, hurt, or demean
- Sexual Abuse: Forced or coerced sexual act or behavior motivated to acquire power and control
- Financial Abuse: Use or misuse of financial or monetary resources of the partner or of the partnership without the partner’s freely given consent
- Spiritual Abuse: Using victim’s religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate
- Identity Abuse: Using personal characteristics to demean, manipulate, and control partner; comprised of “isms” around race, gender, sex, age, sexual orientation, etc.
Why don't victims leave?The decision to leave an abusive relationship is difficult, and a victim's reasons for staying may be numerous, including:
- Fear of physical harm, retaliation, dealing with the legal system, or changing their situation
- Love for their significant other
- Lack of resources (housing, money, accessible programs)
- Isolation from supportive friends and family members
- Familial pressure
- Normalization of violence in the relationship
- A sense of guilt or responsibility for the abuse
- A desire to help their abuser
- Potential public shaming or humiliation
- Optimism that things will change
- Religious belief and values
How can I help a loved one?You can take steps to help someone you care about. Click here for tips on how to help a loved one.
Where can someone find help?The Office of Violence Prevention has an online directory of agencies and organizations who support those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. The Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault also publishes materials to help community members locate resources.
Our "You Are Not Alone" brochure is available for download in English, Spanish, and large print. It lists the names and phone numbers of organizations that can help if you or someone you know has experienced family violence.
Our safety planning cards, "You Have a Right to be Safe," are also available for download in English, Spanish, and Hmong. These cards assist survivors in developing a comprehensive plan, as they are planning to leave an abusive relationship.
Other Resources & DataFor free hard copies of these materials, please contact the Commission Coordinator.