What Is Domestic Violence?

Knowing the definition of domestic violence can help you take action against it.

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What kind of behavior is considered domestic violence?

Domestic violence can take a number of forms, including:

  • physical behavior (slapping, punching, pulling hair or shoving)
  • forced or coerced sexual acts or behavior (unwanted fondling or intercourse, or sexual jokes and insults)
  • threats (threatening to hit, harm or use a weapon)
  • psychological abuse (attacks on self-esteem, attempts to control or limit another person's behavior, repeated insults or interrogation)
  • stalking (following a person, appearing at a person's home or workplace, making repeated phone calls or leaving written messages), or
  • cyberstalking (repeated online action or email that causes substantial emotional distress).

Typically, many kinds of abuse go on at the same time in a household.

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Are TROs and emergency protective orders available only when the abuser is a spouse?

No, in most states, the victim of an abusive live-in lover can obtain a TRO or emergency protective order. In a few states, the victim of any adult relative, an abusive lover (non-live-in) or even a roommate can obtain such an order. To learn about your state's rule, contact a local crisis intervention center, social service organization or battered women's shelter.

Programs for Abusive Men

A number of programs have been established to help abusive men change their behavior. You can get more information from the following organizations:

Abusive Men Exploring New Directions (AMEND)
2727 Bryant Street, Suite 350
Denver, CO 80211
303-832-6363
www.amendinc.org

EMERGE: A Men's Counseling Service
2380 Massachusetts Ave. #101
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-547-9879
www.emergedv.com

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