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Family Justice Center

Domestic Violence

picture of broken vaseCore Characteristics of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion, that is used against an intimate partner. This pattern of behavior includes a variety of tactics that may be criminal, may cause physical injury, and may occur on a daily basis.

Domestic Violence

  • Occurs in all age, racial, gender, religious, socio-economic, educational and occupational groups;
  • Occurs in intimate relationships;
  • Is learned behavior;
  • Involves repetitive behavior encompassing different types of abuse: physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and financial;
  • Is used to intimidate, humiliate and frighten as a way of maintaining power and control;
  • Is caused by the perpetrator, not the victim or the relationship;
  • Differentially affects men and women; Women experience more violence, more severe violence and more serious injuries than male victims of domestic violence;
  • Is likely to present increased risk to the victim and children at the time of separation from the abuser;
  • Evokes victim behavior that is often about ensuring survival (e;g; minimizing or denying the violence, taking responsibility for the violence, protecting the abuser, using alcohol or drugs, self defense, seeking help, remaining in the relationship).

Adapted from Children Exposed to Violence. Published by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation

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