Domestic Violence FAQ

Q: What is domestic violence?

A: Domestic violence or family violence is the abuse of power and/or control. It is behavior used by one person to control another through the force of threats. A batterer makes a choice to strike, hit, kick, punch or threaten the victim.

Domestic Violence includes physical and sexual attacks and threats. These violent acts are criminal and the batterer can be prosecuted for committing them. The acts are means of controlling the victim’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. The violence does not lessen over time. The threats and or beatings generally happen more often with time, last longer and cause greater physical injuries.

Emotional abuse and insulting words are almost always part of the abuse pattern, but are not considered criminal acts. The wounds from these injuries, however, may be more difficult to heal.

Domestic violence is not caused by, or provoked by, the actions, or inactions, of the victim. Alcohol or drug abuse, depression, lack of money, lack of a job, mental illness, or abuse as a child, does not directly cause domestic violence. However, existing problems often create additional stress in a relationship and may increase the risk of violence. Many abusers blame the victim or other things for their violent acts and do not take responsibility for the abusive behavior. There is never an excuse for violence.