We offer a variety of safe, free and confidential services that give people guidance on how they can support those in need.
With the provided information you will be more equipped to empower the person in your life dealing with abuse.
Overview of Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a deliberate and escalating pattern of abuse in which one partner in a significant or intimate relationship attempts to exercise power and maintain control over another partner. IPV can look many different ways; it can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial.
IPV is not a bad mood after a long day, an anger management problem or a relationship with “ups and downs.” Although anger may be involved, it is absolutely not the reason a person abuses their partner – in fact, people who cause harm in relationships tend to be quite good at controlling their anger in certain situations (at work, around friends, etc.). It’s often that they only act out with violence around their partner.
IPV does not conform to stereotypes and can affect people of all genders, sexual orientations, income levels, religions, educational backgrounds, and ethnicities. You might be in an abusive relationship if you:
- Believe your partner is the only person who can make you feel good about yourself.
- Feel nervous around friends or family about how your partner might embarrass you
- Fear your partner will hurt you, your children, your pets, or themselves if you leave the relationship.
- Make up excuses for bruises and injuries or for behavior towards you.
- Feel confused about the rules of your relationship and responsible for your partner’s behavior.
- Miss work, classes or meetings because your partner prevents you from attending or leaving their sight.
- Feel like your partner does not respect your sexuality.
- Feel pressured to share passwords to email accounts, social networking sites, or to let your partner look through your cell phone.
- Feel like your partner keeps track of you all the time.
- Feel embarrassed to tell your friends or family how your partner treats you.
- Feel controlled.
If you answered yes to even one of these statements, Catalyst may be able to help. Call us at 800-895-8476 to talk to a trained advocate.
Types of Abuse
- Verbal attacks
- Extreme jealousy/possessive behavior
- Gas lighting
- Hiding or destroying medication (birth control, hormones)
- Degrading partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity
- Reckless driving
- Hitting with objects
- Physical restraint
- Use of weapons*
*Both of these types of abuse are very dangerous and significantly increase risk of homicide. Please reach out for support if they are present in your relationship.
- Stalking you through social media, tracking apps, or other tracking devices
- Demanding access to your text messages, social media, and email accounts
- Pressuring you to send sexy images or texts (sexting)
- Sending you unwanted sexts
- Sharing or threatening to share intimate photos or videos of you without permission. (Check out this free tool designed to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image (NCII) abuse)
- Using technology to make it falsely appear you were in a sexually explicit video that they were not actually in (Check out this resource guide for support)
- Harassing you via social media, e-mail, or text messages
- Constantly call or text to check up on you, making you feel like you can’t be away from your phone
- Controlling who you can and can’t be friends with on social media
- Tracking or manipulating your financial accounts online
- Cutting off or limiting your access to social media or technology
- Impersonating you online
- Any unwanted touching, unsafe or forced sexual activity
- Forcing the victim to perform sexual acts
- Forced sex work
- Painful or degrading acts during intercourse without consent
- Date rape or marital rape
- Taking unwanted sexual photos and/or videos
- Stealing money
- Demanding paychecks
- Forbidding employment or the search for a job
- Preventing the partner from attending school
- Making the partner beg for money for necessary items
- Giving an allowance
- Stealing or destroying personal belongings
- Refusing to pay court-ordered child or spousal support
- Identity theft
- Credit card fraud
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL YOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT.
Whether or not you feel able to leave an abuser, there are things you can do to make yourself and your family safer. This page provides helpful information on safety planning, including:
- Safety in an emergency
- Safety online & on your phone
- Safety at home
- Safety for children
- Safety outside of the home
- Safety at work
- Use the law to help you
- Criminal proceedings
- Safety at the courthouse
- Gaining financial independence
Safety in an Emergency
If you are at home & you are being threatened or attacked:
- Stay away from the kitchen (the abuser can find weapons, like knives, there)
- Stay away from bathrooms, closets or other small spaces where the abuser can trap you
- Get to a room with a door or window to escape
- Get to a room with a phone to call for help; lock the abuser outside if you can
- Call your emergency contact right away for help
- Think about a neighbor or friend you can run to for help
- If a police officer comes, tell them what happened; get their name & badge number
- Get medical help if you are hurt
- Take pictures of bruises or injuries
- Call your local domestic violence agency; ask them to help you make a safety plan. In Butte County contact Catalyst at 800-895-8476
Safety Online & On Your Phone
- GPS technology is often used to track the location of people experiencing relationship abuse. This can be done through smartphone apps or tracking devices. If your partner frequently knows where you are without you telling them, be aware that they may be tracking you this way. View this resource guide to learn more about personal trackers
- Hacking is the process of accessing computers, smartphones, tablets, and networks without consent. Abusers may hack into their partner’s devices with the help of different types of spyware, stalkerware, software, and mobile apps, which allow them to stalk their partner in a discreet way. Learn more about Stalkerware here
- Check location sharing on iPhone here
- Check location sharing on Android here
- Websites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are often used by abusive partners to gain information about you. Review and update your account information (including passwords) regularly
- Each social media site has different ways to control your privacy settings. These settings change frequently. If you are concerned about what information is being shared publicly on your social media page, reach out to that site’s help center for more information and guidance
- If you believe your email account is being accessed by your abusive partner, you can create a new account via free email services like gmail. Only access this account from devices that your partner does not have access to
- Frequently delete messages in both your inbox and outbox, as well as from the “deleted items” folder
- Regularly empty the recycle or trash bin of any computer you use
- Regularly clear the browsing history of any internet browser you may be using
- Keyloggers are programs installed on computers that can record almost everything you do. If you suspect your computer has a keylogger installed, your abusive partner will likely know if you uninstall the program. In many cases, it may be simpler and safer to use a computer or phone your partner does not have access to – a friend’s computer or a computer available at a public library or community center
- Our personal information, including home addresses and phone numbers, can often be found easily through a quick internet search. Try googling “Your Full Name” in quotation marks and see what comes up, then take steps to change or remove the information the website is providing about you
- Never store your password in your internet browser, even if the browser prompts you to do so
- Frequently change your passwords and make sure you use different passwords for different accounts
- Don’t use passwords that can be guessed easily by someone who knows you well and use a combination of letters and numbers to make it harder to guess
- Are you worried someone might share your intimate images online? Has this already happened to you? (Check out this free tool designed to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image (NCII) abuse)
- Has someone made it falsely appear you were in a sexually explicit video that they were not actually in (Check out this resource guide for support)
Safety at Home
- Learn where to get help; memorize emergency phone numbers
- Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can, get a cellular phone that you keep with you at all times
- If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on your door; get locks on the windows
- Plan an escape route out of your home; teach it to your children
- Think about where you would go if you need to escape
- Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser at your house; make a signal for them to call the police, for example, if the phone rings twice, a shade is pulled down or a light is on
- Pack a bag with important things you’d need if you had to leave quickly; put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust. Include cash, car keys & important information such as: court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records & medicines, immigration papers
- Get an unlisted phone number
- Block caller ID
- Use an answering machine; screen the calls
- Take a good self-defense course
Safety for Children
- Practice making an emergency escape (with my children) and traveling to the location I have chosen as a safe place.
- Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help
- Teach them how to get to safety, to call 911, to give your address & phone number to the police
- Teach them who to call for help
- Tell them to stay out of the kitchen during fights
- Give the principal at school or the daycare center a copy of your court order; tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first; use a password so they can be sure it is you on the phone; give them a photo of the abuser
- Make sure the children know who to tell at school if they see the abuser
- Make sure that the school knows not to give your address or phone number to ANYONE
Safety Outside of the Home
- Change your regular travel habits
- Try to get rides with different people
- Shop and bank in a different place
- Cancel any bank accounts or credit cards you shared; open new accounts at a different bank
- Keep your court order and emergency numbers with you at all times
- Keep a cell phone & program it to 911 (or other emergency number)
Safety at Work
In California, “an employer shall not discharge or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for taking time off from work to obtain or attempt to obtain any relief, including, but not limited to, a temporary restraining order, restraining order, or other injunctive relief, to help ensure the health, safety, or welfare of the victim or their child.” (Labor Code Section 230, article 1)
- Keep a copy of your court order at work
- Give a picture of the abuser to security and friends at work
- Tell your supervisors – see if they can make it harder for the abuser to find you
- Don’t go to lunch alone
- Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or to the bus
- If the abuser contacts you at work, save voicemail and save e-mail
- Your employer may be able to help you find community resources
Use the Law to Help You
Protection or Restraining Orders
- Visit our Legal Advocacy page to learn more about restraining orders
In most places, the judge can:
- Order the abuser to stay away from you or your children
- Order the abuser to leave your home and move out
- Give you temporary custody of your children & order the abuser to pay you temporary child support
- Order the police to come to your home while the abuser picks up personal belongings
- Give you possession of the car, furniture and other belongings
- Order the abuser to go to a batterer’s intervention program
- Order the abuser not to call you at work
- Order the abuser to give guns to the police
If you are worried about any of the following, make sure you:
- Show the judge any pictures of your injuries
- Tell the judge that you do not feel safe if the abuser comes to your home to pick up the children to visit with them
- Ask the judge to order the abuser to pick up and return the children at the police station or some other safe place
- Ask that any visits the abuser is permitted are at very specific times so the police will know by reading the court order if the abuser is there at the wrong time
- Tell the judge if the abuser has harmed or threatened the children; ask that visits be supervised; think about who could do that for you
- Get a certified copy of the court order
- Keep the court order with you at all times
- Show the prosecutor your court orders
- Show the prosecutor medical records about your injuries or pictures if you have them
- Tell the prosecutor the name of anyone who is helping you (a victim advocate or a lawyer)
- Tell the prosecutor about any witnesses to injuries or abuse
- Ask the prosecutor to notify you ahead of time if the abuser is getting out of jail
- California VineLink (Register to be notified when a particular inmate has been released from jail)
- Contact Butte County District Attorney’s Victim Assistance Bureau if there has been a police report. Their Victim Advocates can help with:
- California Victim Compensation Board – CalVCB Application: Their Advocates can assist victims in applying for services available through the California Victim Compensation Board. These services include mental health treatment, medical/dental treatment, relocation expenses, loss of wages, crime scene clean-up, home security, and funeral/burial for eligible victims/derivative victims. They can provide compensation for these services to eligible victims who suffer injury or threat of physical injury as a direct result of a violent crime.
- Restitution Assistance: In California, victims of violent crime have a constitutional right to request the defendant pay restitution for any economic losses incurred as a direct result of the crime. Documentation to support the losses can aid the judge in ordering restitution at sentencing. Their Advocates can help ensure the restitution request is accurate and submitted properly.
Safety at the Courthouse
- Sit as far away from the abuser as you can; you don’t have to look at or talk to the abuser; you don’t have to talk to the abuser’s family or friends if they are there
- Bring a friend or relative with you to wait until your case is heard
- Tell a bailiff or sheriff that you are afraid of the abuser and ask him/her to look out for you
- Make sure you have your court order before you leave
- Ask the judge or the sheriff to keep the abuser there for a while when court is over; leave quickly
- If you think the abuser is following you when you leave, call the police immediately
- If you have to travel to another State for work or to get away from the abuser, take your protection order with you; it is valid everywhere
- In Butte County, Catalyst is available to accompany you to court. Call 1-800-895-8476 before your court date.
To create your own personalized safety plan, click here.
Gaining Financial Independence
Did you know 99% of domestic violence survivors experience financial abuse? It’s one of the main reasons survivors are unable to leave an abusive partner or feel forced to return to one.
Since 2005, The Allstate Foundation has been committed to ending domestic violence through financial empowerment. They offer a free curriculum designed to help domestic violence survivors achieve financial independence and rebuild their lives. The curriculum covers a variety of important financial topics including budgeting, managing debt and improving credit, and has been proven to help survivors move from short-term safety to long-term security. The curriculum is available online or for download in English, Spanish, French, and Vietnamese.
The process of leaving an abusive situation is different for every survivor. This module addresses steps to consider before deciding to leave, including steps to take to protect your safety and gain some financial control. If staying in your current situation is the best option for you right now, this module can help you to increase your safety and understand your options. Click here to check it out!
Effect on Children
Children who witness abuse have an increased likelihood of experiencing intimate partner violence in adulthood. Watching their parent being abused or being abusive can be very confusing. Not only do they feel physically and emotionally unsafe for themselves and their parent, but oftentimes they also have feelings of love and attachment to the abusive parent. Sometimes they feel like they caused the abuse to happen or that it’s their responsibility to stop it.
When children feel unsafe, it is normal for them to experience a wide range of emotions such as, resentment, guilt, fear, grief and anger. Trauma responses can manifest themselves in different ways. Below are some examples of common responses.
- Frequent headaches, stomachaches, or other physical complaints
- Bedwetting and nightmares
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Poor personal hygiene
- Desensitization to pain
- Shame, guilt and self-blame – “I caused it” or “I should have been able to stop it”
- Grief for family and personal losses
- Confusion about conflicting feelings toward parents
- Fear of abandonment, of expressing emotions, of the unknown, and/or personal injury
- Anger about violence and the chaos in their lives
- Feelings of depression, helplessness and powerlessness
- Embarrassment related to the dynamics at home
- Uncertainty about what’s real
- Anxiety that ordinary arguments will become scary
- Aggression or withdrawal
- Overachievement or underachievement
- Refusal to go to school
- Parentification, more concern for others than self
- Avoiding confrontation by lying or pretending everything is OK
- Rigid defenses (aloof, sarcastic, defensive, “black and white” thinking)
- Out of control behavior, inability to set limits or follow directions
- Manipulation, dependendency, mood swings
- Developmental regression (thumb sucking, etc.), depends on age
- Abusive towards self: eating disorders, substance abuse, self harm or attempted suicide
- Short attention span – frequently misdiagnosed ADHD
- Isolation from friends and relatives or strong craving for adult approval
- Relationships are frequently stormy, start intensely and end abruptly
- Difficulty trusting others, especially adults
- Poor anger management and problem solving skills
- Avoid home life through excessive social involvement (extracurricular activities, refusing to go home)
- Passive towards peers or bullies
- Play with peers gets exceedingly rough
Additionally, children may show different symptoms depending on their developmental stage. These examples may not apply to all children in all situations.
|Behavioral||Being fussy||Increased aggression and/or impulsive behaviors||Being aggressive or very withdrawn, conduct problems, disobedience||Antisocial behavior, delinquency, running away, extreme behaviors|
|Emotional||Crying, intense separation anxiety||Intense anxiety, worries, and/or new fears, sadness, PTSD, inconsolable crying||Fear and anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, guilt, shame, PTSD||Depression, anxiety, anger, suicidal, embarrassed about home, PTSD|
|Physical||Problems with sleeping and/or eating, growth stunts||Highly active, demanding, whiny, clingy||Nightmares, sleep disruptions, physical complaints such as stomach aches or headaches||Nightmares, poor hygiene, frequently ill, substance abuse, eating disorders|
|Cognitive||Difficulty with learning and understanding, poor language acquisition||Loss of acquired skills, self-blame, limited understanding||Difficulty with concentration and task completion (especially in school), pro-violent attitudes, self-blame||Pro-violent attitudes, difficulty trusting people|
|Social||Biting, hitting||Trouble interacting with peers and adults, ambivalent relationship with caregiver(s)||Fewer and lower quality peer relationships, avoiding school and/or truancy||Involved in violent or abusive relationships, lying to avoid confrontation|
At Catalyst Domestic Violence Services, we know that you want to be able to help the children in your life affected by domestic violence. In order to do that you need to know how to properly support someone in need. Below are some steps you can take to help.
- Ensure their immediate safety. Limit their exposure to violence as much as possible.
- Consider professional counseling. Catalyst provides free, confidential counseling to children who have witnessed IPV at home. To learn more about these services, visit our counseling page or call 530-343-7711.
- Promote resiliency. Children who have experienced trauma often feel fearful and unsafe, both physical and emotionally. Click here for strategies you can use to offer support to your child.
Teen Dating Abuse
Want to feel prepared to talk to your teen? Check out this Parent Discussion Guide.
Teen relationship violence is a pattern of behavior used by one person in an intimate or significant relationship to maintain power and control over another partner. Sometimes it can be easy to frame intimate partner violence as an “adult” problem. In reality, teens and young adults are among the groups that are at the highest risk for experiencing abuse in their relationships. Roughly 1 in 10 high school students has experienced physical violence in a relationship over the last year. Youth can even face added barriers to accessing support and safety when they’re experiencing dating abuse.
Although teen dating violence is similar to adult relationship abuse in many ways, there are some key differences. Society largely views youth relationships as less serious than adult relationships, which could impact the availability of support when a young adult is experiencing abuse. Additionally, youth are often in the process of learning how to be in relationships for the first time and may have difficulty identifying red flags for abuse. Peer influence has also shown to be a greater influence on teen relationship dynamics than adult relationships. Because youth tend to spend a large amount of time with their peer groups (both at school and in social settings), relationships tend to play out in more public ways. In fact, roughly half of teen relationship violence happens when a third party is present (Molidor, C., and R.M. Tolman, “Gender and Contextual Factors in Adolescent Dating Violence,” Violence Against Women 4 (1998): 180-194).
LGBTQ+ Abusive Relationships
- 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ people experience at least one form of severe physical violence by a partner in their lifetime
- Transgender survivors report 3x more incidences of stalking, sexual violence, and financial abuse
We understand that intimate partner violence looks different in LGBTQ+ relationships. LGBTQ+ individuals face unique barriers when utilizing services & seeking support. These barriers can look like a lack of representation of healthy LGBTQ+ relationships, level of acceptance from family, stereotypes, internalized oppression, negative representations in media, small communities, and acceptance from society. Abusive partners will often exploit their partner’s vulnerabilities around identity and sexual orientation to maintain power and control over them. Catalyst understands the many barriers to social justice that the LGBTQ community may experience and aims to provide advocacy to help overcome those barriers.
LGBTQ+ Tactics of Abuse (Adapted from Northwest Network)
Isolation and Outing
- Both threating to “out” a person or insisting a person remain closeted can be used as tooms of control
- EX: “If you leave me, I’ll tell your boss that you are transgender”
- A person may be coerced or feel obligated to stay, care for, and/or prioritize their partner’s needs over their own
- Attempts to negotiate boundaries or prioritize self are undermined
- EX: “Sure, leave me. Just like everyone else in my life.”
Using Small Communities
- Using friends to monitor survivor, gathering information to ostracize or threaten to ostracize
- Many LGBTQ+ people are not allowed legal custody of their children
- Safety planning should consider who is the biological parent (even with adoption)
- EX: “If I tell your ex-husband that you are bisexual, he will take you to court and never let you see the kids again.”
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
- LGBTQ+ people have historically been forced to make community in “illegal” and marginalized spaces, such as bars
- Leveraging consequences of current/previous drug use and drug criminalization
- EX: “I’ll tell your PO that you have been drinking again.”
Transgender Specific Tactics
- Denying access to medication or health care, especially for partner receiving hormone treatment therapy
- Ridiculing gender identity
- Refusing to use correct pronoun/name
- Criticizing appearance
- Calling them sick/crazy
- EX: “Even with that wig on, you still look like a man.”
- Using racial epithets and negative racial stereotypes
- Using partner’s reluctance to involve police and knowledge of history of police abuse of people of color to discourage them from seeking help
- Using white (or light skin) privilege
- Using master/slave S/M scenes
- Exploiting partner’s internalized racism
Love is respect. Love is communication. Love is feeling safe.
At Catalyst, we recognize that all relationships exist on a spectrum.
|Healthy Behavior||Unhealthy Behavior||Abusive Behavior|
Both partners talk openly about problems and listen to each other.
When either partner has a problem, they may fight or avoid talking about it.
One partner communicates in ways that are hurtful or insulting.
Both partners value each other as they are.
One or both partners is not considerate of the other.
One partner does not respect the feelings or physical safety of the other.
Both partners can believe what each other says.
One or both partners do not believe what the other partner says.
One partner falsely accuses the other of flirting or cheating.
Both partners are honest with each other and can choose to keep things private.
One or both partners lie to each other.
One partner blames behaviors on the other or some outside source.
Partners make decisions together and hold each other to the same standards.
One or both partners feel their needs are more (or less) important than the other’s.
There is no equality in the partnership. What one partner says goes.
Both partners respect each other’s need to spend time apart.
Or not spending time apart. Partners only spend time with each other.
One partner controls where the other one goes, who they see, and who they talk to.
|Mutual Sexual Choices:
Both partners talk openly about sexual choices and consent. No pressure!
|Ignoring Consequences of Sex:
Both partners consent to sex, but they do not communicate about boundaries or consequences.
|Non-consensual Sexual Activity:
One partner forces intimacy and/or sexual activity without consent.
Model for a Fair Argument
Healthy relationships have both good and bad times. It is normal to experience tension and arguments in all relationships. Even in healthy relationships, it is important to take space to respectfully express frustrations and concerns. When emotions are running high, it is helpful to have some communication tools to keep the argument compassionate and safe. Start by focusing on 2 of the following tools, adding more as you get comfortable
- Identify the problem—only deal with one problem at a time and be willing to find a solution.
- Focus on the current problem—not the person, don’t bring up the past.
- Take personal responsibility—hold yourself accountable for your actions in the argument or mistakes you have made.
- Use “I” statements— “I feel this way because this happened…”
- NO FOULS—avoid blaming, put-downs, shouting, name-calling, swearing, cutting in, sarcasm, or unkind tone of voice.
- Don’t be stubborn—be willing to be wrong and to reach a middle ground. Try to see your partner’s point of view.
- Pay attention to timing—bring up concerns or frustrations when you both have time and space to talk about it.
- Take a break—if things feel intense take a break to cool down, but make sure to come back once you both cool down
- LISTEN—pay attention to what your partner is saying instead of planning what you are going to say next.
- Make a plan—discuss specific actions that can be taken in the future. If you are not happy with the results, be honest and talk about it.
The fair argument model can work with partners, friends, family, and parents, but you have to both agree to use them.
Knowing that you are worthy of love, respect, and kindness builds a foundation to love others! By recognizing you are worthy of love, you can envision the love you want to receive.
If you’ve had experiences in your life that may be impacting your ability to have healthy relationships, it can be helpful to talk with a counselor to heal from your trauma and develop healthy self esteem and boundaries.
Supporting a Survivor
People who know someone affected by domestic violence are often unsure how to help. At Catalyst we offer a variety of safe, free and confidential services that can provide some guidance on how you can support those in need. With the provided resources you will be more equipped to empower the person in your life dealing with abuse.
Below are some helpful guidelines you can use when having supportive conversations with your loved one experiencing intimate partner violence.
When supporting someone who is experiencing abuse:
- Allow them to tell their story without judgment
- Believe them – too often, people disbelieve or question those who disclose their experience with abuse
- Be sensitive to their feelings – individuals in abusive relationships may be experiencing a variety of complex emotions, including love for their abusive partner, a hatred of the violence that partner inflicts, and fear that their partner may retaliate or hurt them in some way if they disclose the abuse.
- Inform them of available resources, including Catalyst. A complete list of services that Catalyst provides can be found under “Programs & Services”.
- Allow them to make their own decisions. Nobody understands a relationship better than the person in that relationship. When we care about someone who’s being hurt, it’s tempting to try and take control by telling the person what they should do and where they should go. Instead, we want to empower individuals experiencing abuse to make the safest decisions possible in their relationship – regardless if it’s the choice that you think you would make.
- Be patient. The person in the relationship gets to determine the pace at which they discuss the abuse they’re experiencing and when to take action.
- Stay present in their lives. Oftentimes, individuals in abusive relationships are isolated from their friends and family, which makes it harder to reach out for support if needed.
- Remind them that no matter what, you are here for them if they need someone to talk to.
Offer supportive messages:
- “It is not your fault”
- “I am scared for you and/or for your children”
- “You are not alone in figuring this out”
- “I am here for you when you are ready to talk”
- “You don’t deserve this”
Good questions to ask:
- “How does it make you feel when ____?”
- “What would you like to do?”
- “What are you ready to do?”
- “What do you think will happen if you stay?
- “What do you think will happen if you leave?”
- “Would you like to create a safety plan?”
Supporting someone who’s experiencing abuse in a relationship can be difficult. If you would like additional help supporting someone experiencing abuse, please call our 24-hour hotline at 800-895-8476 or consult the following resources:
- “What Do I Say”
- The Northwest Network’s Support Planning Checklist
- Help a Friend from Love Is Respect
Intimate Partner Violence
- About 1 in 4 women (25.1% or 30.0 million) in the U.S. experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact (1)
- Nearly 1 in 10 (10.9% or 12.1 million) men in the U.S. experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact (1)
- Over one-third of women (36.4% or 43.5 million) experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner during their lifetime (1)
- Over one-third of men (34.2% or 38.1 million) experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner during their lifetime ((1)
- On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive over 19,000 calls (2)
- In 2018, partner violence accounted for 20% of all violent crime (3)
- 17.9% of women have experienced a situation where an intimate partner tried to keep them from seeing family and friends (15)
- A woman who has suffered a nonfatal strangulation incident with her intimate partner is 700% more likely to be killed by the same perpetrator (31)
IPV in California
- 32.9 % of California women1 and 27.3% of California men2 experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. (12)
- In a single day, domestic violence shelters served almost 5,800 women and children (13)
- A study of women in 67 California domestic violence shelters found that abusive intimate partners used handguns to harm, threaten, or scare 32.1% of study participants; long guns were used to harm, threaten, or scare 15.9% of participants. 39.1% reported that the abusive intimate partner owned a firearm during the relationship, almost twice the rate of gun ownership in California. Of participants in gun-owning households, 64.5% said a gun had been used against them (14)
The Intersection of IPV and Systemic Racism
- 45.1% of Black women and 40.1% of Black men have experienced intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. (16)
- 31.8% of Black women and 16.8% of Black men have experienced one or more of the following intimate partner violence-related impacts: being fearful, concerned for safety, any post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, injury, need for medical care, housing services, victim advocate services, and/or legal services, missed at least 1 day of work or school, and contacting a crisis hotline (17)
- An estimated 51.3% of black adult female homicides are related to intimate partner violence. (18)
- In 2017, for female victim/male offender homicides, Black females had the highest rate at 2.55 per 100,000. (19)
- American Indian and Alaska Native women experience assault and domestic violence at much higher rates than women of any other ethnicity. Over 84% of Native women experience violence during their lifetimes. (20)
- American Indians are 3 times more likely to experience sexual violence than any other ethnic group. Over half of American Indian women report having experienced sexual assault. (20)
- There is a higher prevalence of lifetime experiences of IPV among bisexual women than heterosexual women. Bisexual women are 1.8 times more likely to report ever having experienced IPV than heterosexual women. (22)
- Men and women both contribute to the prevalence of IPV among sexual minority women. For example, the CDC found that 89.5% of bisexual women reported only male perpetrators of intimate partner physical violence, rape, and/or stalking and that almost a third of lesbian women who have experienced such incidents have had one or more male perpetrators. (22)
- One study that used a representative sample estimated that 26.9% of gay men had experienced IPV in their lifetimes and 12.1% had experienced IPV in the past year. (23)
- 30 – 50% of transgender people have experienced IPV or dating violence. (25)
- 62% of LGBTQ IPV survivors are people of color. (27)
- LGBTQ and HIV-affected people of color are almost twice as likely to experience threats or intimidation in their intimate relationships. (27)
- Transgender and Latinx people are more likely to experience threats or intimidation from their partners. (27)
- 1 in 2 female murder victims and 1 in 13 male murder victims are killed by intimate partners. (4)
- A study of intimate partner homicides found 20% of victims were family members or friends of the abused partner, neighbors, persons who intervened, law enforcement responders, or bystanders. (5)
- 65% of all murder-suicides are perpetrated by intimate partners. (6)
- 96% of murder-suicide victims are female. (6)
- Most intimate partner homicides are committed with firearms. (7)
Teen Dating Violence
- Nearly 20.9% of female high school students and 13.4% of male high school students report being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner. (21)
- 26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18. (28)
- Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average. (29)
- Violent behavior often begins between the ages of 12 and 18. (29)
- Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence. (29)
- Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse. (29)
- Eighty-one (81) percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue. (29)
- 59% of teens are cyber bullied. (33)
- Nearly 1 in 6 women (16.0%, or 19.1 million) in the U.S. were victims of stalking at some point in their lifetime, during which she felt very fearful or believed that she or someone close to her would be harmed or killed. (1)
- About 1 in 17 (5.8% or 6.4 million) men in the U.S. were victims of stalking at some point in their lifetime, during which he felt very fearful or believed that he or someone close to him would be harmed or killed. (1)
- Approximately 1 in 5 (21.3% or an estimated 25.5 million) women in the U.S. reported completed or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime. (1)
- About 2.6% of U.S. men (an estimated 2.8 million) experienced completed or attempted rape victimization in their lifetime. (1)
- Approximately 1 in 6 women (16.0% or an estimated 19.2 million women) experienced sexual coercion (e.g., being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex, sexual pressure due to someone using their influence or authority) at some point in their lifetime. (1)
- Approximately 1 in 10 men (9.6% or an estimated 10.6 million men) experienced sexual coercion (e.g., being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex, sexual pressure due to someone using their influence or authority) in their lifetime. (1)
- More than a third of women (37.0% or approximately 44.3 million women) reported unwanted sexual contact (e.g., groping) in their lifetime. (1)
- Almost one fifth of men (17.9% or approximately 19.9 million men) reported unwanted sexual contact (e.g., groping) at some point in their lifetime. (1)
Intimate Partner Violence and Children
- 15.5 million U.S. children live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year, and seven million children live in families in which severe partner violence occurred. (30)
- A Michigan study of low-income preschoolers finds that children who have been exposed to family violence suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as bed-wetting or nightmares, and are at greater risk than their peers of having allergies, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, headaches and flu. (30)
- Children of mothers who experience prenatal physical domestic violence are at an increased risk of exhibiting aggressive, anxious, depressed or hyperactive behavior. (30)
Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence
- Victims of intimate partner violence are at increased risk of contracting HIV or other STI’s due to forced intercourse and/or prolonged exposure to stress. (8)
- Intimate partner victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior. (8)
- Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries. (9)
- Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8,000,000 days of paid work each year, the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs. (10)
- Intimate partner violence is estimated to cost the US economy between $5.8 billion and $12.6 billion annually, up to 0.125% of the national gross domestic product. (10)
- Between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse. (11)
Technology Enabled Abuse
- 75% women/girls experience cyber violence. (32)
- 1 in 12 Americans Targeted with Revenge Porn. (34)
- Nearly 50% of women receive gential photos from men and 91% are unsolicited. (35)
- Less than 1% of malicious cyber incidents see an enforcement action taken against the attackers. (36)
- 41% of women experience online sexual harassment. (37)
- 60+ Age Group are #1 targets of cybercrime. (38)
- National Network to End Domestic Violence (2020). 14th annual domestic violence counts report. Retrieved from NNEDV.org/DVCounts.
- Morgan, R.E., & Oudekerk, B.A. (2019). Criminal victimization, 2018. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv18.pdf.
- Ertl, A., Sheats, K.J., Petrosky, E., Betz, C.J., Yuan, K., & Fowler, K.A. (2019). Surveillance for violent deaths — national violent death reporting system, 32 states, 2016. MMWR. Surveillance Summaries, 68(9). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/ss/ss6809a1.htm.
- Smith, S., Fowler, K. & Niolon, P. (2014). Intimate partner homicide and corollary victims in 16 states: National violent death reporting system, 2003-2009. American Journal of Public Health, 104(3), 461-466. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301582.
- Violence Policy Center (2018). American roulette: murder-suicide in the United States. Retrieved from https://vpc.org/studies/amroul2018.pdf.
- Violence Policy Center (2018). When men murder women: An analysis of 2016 homicide data. Retrieved from http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2018.pdf
- World Health Organization (2013). Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/85239/1/9789241564625_eng.pdf?ua=1.
- Truman, J. L. & Morgan, R. E. (2014). Nonfatal domestic violence, 2003-2012. Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ndv0312.pdf.
- World Health Organization (2004). The economic dimensions of intimate partner violence. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/42944/1/9241591609.pdf.
- Rothman, E., Hathaway, J., Stidsen, A. & de Vries, H. (2007). How employment helps female victims of intimate partner abuse: A qualitative study. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12(2), 136-143. doi: 10.1037/1076-8918.104.22.168
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner by state of residence—U.S. women, NISVS 2010. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/state_tables_74.html.
- National Network to End Domestic Violence (2015). 2014 domestic violence counts: A 24-hour census of domestic violence shelters and services. Retrieved from http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2014/DVCounts14_NatlSummary_Color-2.pdf
- Sorenson, S. B., & Schut, R. A. (2016). Nonfatal gun use in intimate partner violence: A systematic review of the literature. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 19(4), 431-442. doi: 10.1177/1524838016668589
- Breiding, M. J., Chen, J. & Black, M. C. (2014). Intimate partner violence in the United States – 2010. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ cdc_nisvs_ipv_report_2013_v17_single_a.pdf.
- 4 Smith, S.G., Chen, J., Basile, K.C., Gilbert, L.K., Merrick, M.T., Patel, N., Walling, M., & Jain, A. (2017). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey (NISVS): 2010-2012 state report. Atlanta: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/NISVSStateReportBook.pdf.
- 5 Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Basile, K.C., Walters, M.L., Chen, J., & Merrick, M.T. (2014). Prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization — national intimate partner and sexual violence survey, United States, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Surveillance Summaries, 63(8), 1-18. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6308.pdf.
- Petrosky, E., Blair, J.M., Betz, C.J., Fowler, K.A., Jack, S.P.D., & Lyons, B.H. (2017). Racial and ethnic differences in homicides of adult women and the role of intimate partner violence – United States, 2003-2014. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 66(28), 741-746. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/pdfs/mm6628a1.pdf
- Violence Policy Center (2019). When men murder women: An analysis of 2017 homicide data. Washington, DC. Retrieved from https://vpc.org/studies/wmmw2019.pdf
- Rosay, R. B. (2016). Violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and men: 2010 findings from the national intimate partner and sexual violence survey. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/249736.pdf
- i Vagi, K. J., O’Malley Olson, E., Basile, K. C., & Vivolo-Kantor, (2015). Teen dating violence (physical and sexual) among US high school students: Findings from the 2013 national youth risk behavior survey. JAMA Pediatrics, 169(5), 474-482.
- Goldberg, N. & Meyer, I. (2013). Sexual Orientation Disparities in History of Intimate Partner Violence: Results from the California Health Interview Survey. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28(5), 1109-1118.
- Langenderfer-Magruder, L., Whitfield, D. L., Walls, N. E., Kattari, S. K., & Ramos, D. (2014). Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence and Subsequent Police Reporting Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Adults in Colorado: Comparing Rates of Cisgender and Transgender Victimization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-17
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