Learning about domestic violence

Domestic abuse, which is also called intimate partner violence or domestic violence, is the use of controlling or hurtful actions in a couple or dating relationship. A domestic abuser, or batterer, uses physical or sexual violence, emotional hurt, and/or threats to gain control through the victim’s fear.

Domestic violence happens in every community, regardless of income level, race, age, religion, level of education, gender, or sexual orientation. You’ll find victims in every neighborhood, every workplace, and every church. Experts agree that it affects 1 in 4 families, although only 1 out of 10 cases are actually reported. It results in more medically treatable injuries than rape, accidents, and muggings combined. Nearly a third of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. Society also pays a price, as the cost of domestic violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.

We’ve included more detailed information about domestic violence on the pages in this section.