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What is Domestic Violence? Domestic violence is a crime and is typically about power, control, domination, and fear. When one person exhibits a pattern of attempting to gain power and control over someone with whom he/she is in a relationship or has a familial and/or co-habitating relationship with, he/she may be committing domestic violence. This may include using physical and sexual violence, threats, emotional abuse, financial control, legal status, children, harassment, or stalking to control another person. These control factors may also be used to alienate victims from their family, friends, and co-workers. This contributes to a lack of support system for the victim, particularly when trying to leave the relationship. Domestic violence between intimate partners may also be known as partner abuse, spousal abuse, co-habitant abuse, interpersonal violence, intimate partner violence, and can also include dating violence.

Domestic abuse has historically been thought of as a family problem or as a private issue in which outsiders should not get involved. This idea still persists today but the truth is, domestic abuse affects everyone and the whole community is a part of the culture in which domestic abuse is perpetuated. Domestic abuse occurs among all genders, age groups, cultures, educational backgrounds, religious denominations, and socioeconomic groups.

Domestic abuse is not always about physical violence but is always harmful. Abusive and controlling behaviors are often visually represented by the ‘Power and Control Wheel.’

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