what is family violence?


Family violence or domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in a relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological and includes behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.  See the Power and Control Wheel and Power and Control Wheel for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Relationships for some of the common ways that abusers gain and maintain power and control in a relationship.

Family violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen between couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Family violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Please remember that family violence can take many different shapes and forms. If you have any questions about your situation, please call Partnership Against Domestic Violence at 404-873-1766 or call Georgia’s 24-Hour domestic violence hotline, 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836) to talk to an advocate about your specific circumstances.

FAMILY/DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: A pattern of abusive behavior that keeps one partner in a position of power over the other partner through the use of fear, intimidation and control.

PHYSICAL ABUSE: Grabbing, pinching, shoving, slapping, hitting, hair pulling, biting, choking, using weapons to harm or threaten, etc. Denying medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use.

SEXUAL ABUSE: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact without consent, e.g., marital rape, forcing sex after physical beating, attacks on sexual parts of the body or treating another in a sexually demeaning manner.

ECONOMIC ABUSE: Making or attempting to make a person financially dependent, e.g., maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding access to money, forbidding attendance at school or employment.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE: Undermining a person’s sense of self-worth, e.g., constant criticism, belittling one’s abilities, name calling, damaging a partner’s relationship with the children.

PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE: Causing fear by intimidation, threatening physical harm to self, partner or children, destruction of pets and property, mind games or forcing isolation from friends, family, school and/or work.

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