|What is domestic violence?|
Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, occurs when one person causes physical or psychological harm to a current or former intimate partner. It includes all acts of violence within the context of family or intimate relationships. Besides being the leading cause of injury to women in the United States (a woman is beaten every 15 seconds), it is an issue of increasing concern because of its negative effect on all family members, especially children.
While accurate information on the extent of domestic violence is difficult to obtain because of under-reporting, some aspects of the problem are known:
If you believe you may be in an abusive relationship, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Besides the obvious physical injuries, domestic violence can lead to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. Abuse also might trigger suicide attempts or psychotic episodes.
How can you leave an abusive partner?
Leaving an abuser can be dangerous. In order to do it as safely as possible, you should plan ahead and take the following precautions:
Where can you turn to for help?
In an emergency situation, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency. If you are not in immediate danger, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-Safe (7233), which provides crisis intervention and referrals to in-state or out-of-state resources, such as women’s shelters or crisis centers.