DOMESTIC ABUSE: What is domestic abuse?
Domestic Abuse is a pattern of behaviors designed to have power and control over another individual in an intimate relationship.  Victims of domestic abuse can be both women and/or men who are involved in a married, dating, co-habitation or familial relationship. Teenagers and children can also experience domestic abuse in a familial OR dating relationship. Not all acts of domestic violence are included in the  legal definition of domestic violence, but can still cause serious mental, emotional and physical damage if not addressed. 

There are several forms of Domestic Abuse, including:​​​
  • Psychological Abuse - behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This can include intimidation, controlling tactics (using children to gain power or control), isolation, threats of violence, and using force during an argument. 
  • Emotional Abuse - (similar to psychological abuse) control through name calling, criticisms and demeaning comments meant to undermine their partner's self-confidence, and increase control held by the abuser. 
  • Economic Abuse control over a partner's access to money or resources, which forces dependency on their abuser.
  • Sexual Abuse - any undesired sexual behavior, often used to instill dominance or control over a partner. It is often perpetrated using force or by taking advantage of another. 
  • Physical Abuse - pushing, hitting, punching... anything that physically causes harm. 
  • Legal Abuse - unfair or improper legal action initiated with selfish or malicious intentions. 
  • Religious Abuse - includes harassment or humiliation under the guise of religion or religious convictions and/or misusing scripture or religious position to gain control and power which may result in psychological and emotional trauma. ​​
​​These forms of abuse are learned behaviors and intentional actions that CAN be changed. Domestic violence is not caused by the victim’s behavior. It is a direct result of the choices that a batterer is making. Violence is a choice, and it can be changed with the desire to do so and with the assistance of skilled professionals.

Domestic violence impacts an entire family. Not only does the abuser need to receive intervention and treatment, the victims of abuse need to seek support and counseling as well. In order to meet the needs of a family that is dealing with domestic violence, there are several available resources locally. 

Portions of this informational page were copied from NW Family Life and the King County Council’s Domestic and Dating Violence Information and Resource Handbook and used with the permission of the King County Prosecutor’s Office in Seattle, Washington​​


Identify the warning signs of domestic abuse. If you suspect abuse is occuring, what can you do to protect yourself or someone else?


Abuse is a cycle of high points and low points. Learn how to get out of the cycle.


Includes a list of available resources and assistance as well as emergency contacts.

​​If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please contact 911 right away!