Domestic Violence/Relationship Violence
Domestic Violence (DV) is any act, attempt, or threat of force, by a family member, or intimate partner against another family member. Dating and domestic violence occurs in all socioeconomic, educational, racial, and age groups. The issues of power and control are at the heart of family violence. The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors to gain power and control.
Relationship Violence (RV) is any harmful or unwanted physical, verbal, sexual, or emotional
act inflicted by a casual or intimate partner with the intention of causing pain.
Perpetrator Behavioral Warning Signs of DV/RV
Intimidation tactics: Smashing things, abusing pets, destroying victim's property, displaying weapons.
Threats: Making and/or carrying out threats to harm the victim, to commit suicide, to report him or her to child welfare, to make him or her drop charges.
Isolation: Controlling what the victim does, sees, and reads, limiting who the victim talks to.
Emotional abuse: Putting the victim down, calling him or her names, making him or her think he or she's crazy, playing mind games.
Victim Behaviors of DV/RV
Someone involved in an abusive relationship might display certain behavioral signs, including:
- Inconsistent explanations: Victims may provide inconsistent explanations as to the cause of their injuries due to fear of alerting others to the severity of their situation.
- Alcohol abuse: Alcohol or other substances may be used as a means of escape from their everyday reality of abuse.
- Physical Injuries: Bruises, cuts, bite marks, scratches in multiple stages of healing. May be openly visible or hidden underneath clothing, make up or eyewear.
Reasons why victims stay or fail to report abuse
- Financial dependence: Perpetrator may have forbidden the victim from getting or keeping a job or may have kept secret the location and balance of bank accounts.
- Lack of social support: Perpetrator may have controlled victim's contact with friends, family, and the outside world.
- Fear: Perpetrator may use threats of attack to keep the victim in a state of perpetual fear. The batterers may tell their victims that, if they leave, they will be killed.
- Self-blame: Victims begin to believe that the abuse is a result of their real or imagined offenses.
- False Beliefs: Victims may believe that the violence is temporary or caused by unusual circumstances such as alcohol, work pressures, fatigue and stress.