Domestic Violence

Whether you call it domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, dating abuse, or intimate partner violence, violence from one partner against the other continues to be a major problem in society. Consider this: Divorced Families Co parenting

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime1 
  • One in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape2
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year3 
  • The majority (73%) of family violence victims are female. Females were 84% of spousal abuse victims and 86% of abuse victims at the hands of a boyfriend4 
  • The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services5
  • Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults6 

Without splitting hairs, domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.

Abusers  will use a variety of tactics to manipulate and control their partner

  • Physical abuse – hitting, punching, slapping, tripping, shoving, hair pulling, shoving are standard behavior. It isn’t uncommon for abusers to injure their partner and then deny that partner medical care
  • Sexual abuse – one partner is forced to participate in sexual acts in demeaning ways
  • Humiliation – attempts to make the partner feel ashamed or embarrassed, using name-calling, public ridicule in an attempt to make the partner feel worthless to anyone else
  • Domination – efforts to control all movement and speech causing the abused to feel inferior and unable to act without permission
  • Intimidation – generally the abuser will threaten the abused with bodily injury (or death) if they don’t behave in a specific manner
  • Isolation – keeping the partner from having any but the briefest contact with others, with threats if they interact with others. Forbidding the partner to have any financial access is common
  • Emotional and psychological abuse – threats of harming the partner, the abuser him or her self, the children, family members, harming pets or forbidding contact with family members
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Violence with Children Involved – Remedies

Parenting time (Visitation) – States provide that where abuse is alleged, courts will issue orders  that limit an accused parent’s exercise of parenting time to a supervised setting only. A parent accused of domestic violence can get custody or visitation if the court is satisfied that you or your child will remain safe. Precautions can be ordered (meetings in a protected place, supervised pick-ups and drop-offs, etc.). The court may order a parent to attend counseling and to refrain from drugs and alcohol, restrict contact to email or any other measure.

  • baby's tearsIncarceration, parole, probation – the system penalizes abusers that behave recklessly and callously
  • Custody awards – the court can limit the frequency and duration of a parent accused or convicted of abuse by awarding sole physical and legal custody to the other parent
  • Parenting time (visitation) restricted and denied – courts can and do protect custodial parents and children from an abuser
  • Termination of custody – children can be removed from one parent and awarded to the other parent
  • Orders of Protection (restraining orders) – court orders that prevent any contact with the abused
  • Substance abuse monitoring – abusers can be forced to undergo testing to check on drug and alcohol use
  • Termination of Parental Rights – in egregious situations, courts will permanently terminate a parents right to see a child

National Organizations to Help Abused Partners

Financial Help for Women in Abusive Relationships
U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and TTY 1-800-787-3224 U.S. Dept. of Justice
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) (303) 839-1852
No More Violence No More Silence
American Psychiatric Association – Domestic Violence
Take the Domestic Violence Screening Quiz

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¹Tjaden, P. & Thoennes, N. (2000). Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.  National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention
²U.S. Department of Justice. (November, 1998). Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women
³Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2003). Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. Atlanta, GA: National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control.
4Bureau of Justice Statistics. (June, 2005). Family Violence Statistics. U.S. Department of Justice
5Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2003). Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. Atlanta, GA: National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control
6Strauss, Gelles, & Smith. (1990). Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families. Transaction Publishers

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