What is Domestic Violence? | United Nations (2023)

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What is Domestic Violence? | United Nations (3)

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What is domestic violence?

domestic violence, also called "domestic violence" or "intimate partner violence," can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship designed to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is any physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or psychological action or threatening action affecting another person. This includes any behavior that frightens, intimidates, frightens, manipulates, hurts, humiliates, blames, hurts or hurts someone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can occur in a variety of relationships, including couples who are married, living together, or dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and educational levels.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, or class.

Victims of domestic violence can also be a child or another relative or family member.

Domestic violence generally manifests as a pattern of abusive behavior towards an intimate partner in a relationship or family relationship in which the perpetrator exercises power and control over the victim.

Domestic violence can be psychological, physical, economic or sexual in nature. Incidents are rarely isolated and often increase in frequency and severity. Domestic violence can result in serious personal injury or death.

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are you being abused

Read the following questions to think about how you are treated and how you treat your partner.

Recognize the signs of domestic violence

Your classmates...

  • Does he embarrass you in front of your friends or family or does he make fun of you?
  • Are you lowering your benefits?
  • Does it make you feel unable to make decisions?
  • Do you use intimidation or threats to achieve compliance?
  • You say you're nothing without her?
  • Is he rough: grabs, pushes, pinches, pushes or hits him?
  • Does he call multiple times a night or show up to make sure you're where you said you were?
  • Do you use drugs or alcohol as an excuse to say hurtful things or verbally abuse you?
  • Do they blame you for how they feel or act?
  • Is he sexually pushing you to do things you're not ready for?
  • Do you feel like there is "no way out" of the relationship?
  • Does it keep you from doing the things you want to do like B. Spending time with friends or family?
  • Trying to keep you from coming out after a fight, or dropping you somewhere after a fight to "teach you a lesson"?


  • Are you sometimes afraid of how your partner might behave?
  • Do you constantly apologize in front of other people for your partner's behavior?
  • Do you think you can help your partner change if you change something about yourself?
  • Do you try not to do anything that might cause conflict or upset your partner?
  • Do you always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
  • Do you stay with your partner because you are afraid of what they would do if you break up?

If any of these things are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without help, the abuse will continue. The first cry for help is a bold step.

Always remember...

  • NO ONE deserves to be abused. The abuse is not your fault. You are not alone.
  • Do NOT worry about the threat to your visa. We have information on visa options for your situation.
  • Don't worry if you don't speak the local language. We can get help in multiple languages.

steering wheel and performance

Physical and sexual assault, or threats to commit it, are the most obvious forms of abuse and domestic violence, and are often the actions that bring the problem to the attention of others. However, the abuser's regular use of other abusive behaviors, when reinforced by one or more acts of physical violence, constitutes a larger system of abuse. Although physical assaults may be single or occasional, they create fear of future violent attacks and allow the perpetrator to take control of the victim's life and circumstances.

The Power and Control Wheel is a particularly useful tool in understanding the general pattern of abusive and violent behavior that an abuser uses to gain and maintain control of their partner or other victim in the home. Often one or more violent incidents are accompanied by a variety of these other types of abuse. They are less easily identified but firmly establish a pattern of intimidation and control in the relationship.

(Source: Developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Duluth, MN,https://www.thedulithmodel.org/)

emotional abuseinvolves undermining a person's self-esteem through constant criticism; belittle one's abilities; attribution or other verbal abuse; damage the couple's relationship with the children; or not allowing a couple to see friends and family. You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:

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  • He insults, insults or criticizes him all the time.
  • He doesn't trust you and acts jealous or possessive.
  • Try isolating him from family or friends.
  • Keep track of where you're going, who you're calling, and who you're spending time with.
  • He doesn't want you to work.
  • Controls finances or refuses to share money.
  • He punishes you by denying you affection.
  • Wait till I ask your permission.
  • Threatening to harm you, your children, your family, or your pets.
  • Kinda humiliates you.

psychological abuse: involves inducing fear through intimidation; threats of physical harm to self, partner or children; destruction of pets and property; "mind games"; or enforcing isolation from friends, family, school and/or work.

Financial or Economic Abuse: Means making a person financially dependent or attempting to retain full control of financial resources, denying access to money, and/or prohibiting them from attending school or employment.

mistreatmentInjuring or attempting to injure a partner by hitting, kicking, burning, grabbing, pinching, pushing, slapping, hair pulling, biting, withholding medical attention, or forcing the use of alcohol and/or drugs, or using other physical violence. You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner:

  • Damages property when enraged (throws objects, hits walls, kicks down doors, etc.).
  • She pushes, hits, bites, kicks or chokes.
  • It leaves you in a dangerous or unknown place.
  • They are afraid of reckless driving.
  • Use a weapon to threaten or hurt you.
  • It forces you to leave the house.
  • Locks you in your house or prevents you from leaving the house.
  • Prevents you from calling the police or seeing a doctor.
  • hurt your children
  • Use physical violence in sexual situations.

sexual abuse: consists in forcing a couple to participate in a sexual act when the couple does not give their consent. You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:

  • He accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
  • He wants you to dress sexually.
  • Sexually insulted you or called you sexual names.
  • Has you ever been forced or manipulated into having sex or engaging in sexual activity.
  • It keeps you having sex.
  • Demands sex when sick, tired, or after hitting you.
  • Injures you during sexual intercourse with a weapon or objects.
  • Involve other people in sexual activities with you.
  • Ignore your feelings about sex.

persecutionincludes any pattern of behavior that does not have a legitimate purpose and is intended to harass, annoy, or frighten the victim. Typical stalking activities include repeated phone calls, unsolicited letters or gifts in the mail, surveillance of the workplace, home, and other places where the victim is. The persecution usually intensifies.

for survivors

  • Nobody deserves to be abused. The abuse is not your fault. You are not alone.
  • Contact the Critical Incident Stress Management Unit (CISMU) if you are concerned you are experiencing any type of abuse or are concerned for your safety or that of your children.
  • If English is not your first language, you can request a language that you are more comfortable with by contacting CISMU for assistance.
  • can also be seensupport organizationsto identify and contact an appropriate resource for your assistance (both in the United States and abroad).
  • read as you canProtect your digital privacy.

For affected employees: How can you help?

How can you help victims of domestic violence?

  • Listen and believe the abused person so they know they are not alone.
  • Encourage them to seek assistance through a confidential hotline to connect with a professional in the field.
  • Express your concern for him/her, show support, and offer references to available resources.
  • If you have not been contacted directly but have reason to believe that a colleague may be in an abusive relationship, contact your organization's advisory board or ombudsman >

monitoring: Keep in mind that a survivor will often make multiple attempts to exit an abusive relationship before succeeding.

To an Abusive Partner: Are You an Abuser?

  • If you realize that you are abusing your partner, there may be resources in your community that can help you stop the abuse. EITHERNational Domestic Violence Hotlinehas a number of resources that can help. Although this is a US hotline, the tips and information may be helpful no matter where you live.
  • Be aware that domestic violence not only violates the United Nations Code of Conduct, but may be a criminal offense under the applicable laws of the duty station where you work.
  • Domestic Violence: How to Respond?
  • What is domestic violence?
  • support organizations
  • Know your legal rights
  • digital security
  • security planning
  • frequently asked questions
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What do you mean by domestic violence? ›

Domestic violence is violence committed by someone in the victim's domestic circle. This includes partners and ex-partners, immediate family members, other relatives and family friends. The term 'domestic violence' is used when there is a close relationship between the offender and the victim.

How does domestic violence affect the nation? ›

Domestic violence affects the victim, families, co-workers, and community. It causes diminished psychological and physical health, decreases the quality of life, and results in decreased productivity. The national economic cost of domestic and family violence is estimated to be over 12 billion dollars per year.

What country is domestic violence most common? ›

According to various national surveys, the percentage of women who were ever physically assaulted by an intimate partner varies substantially by country: Barbados (30%), Canada (29%), Egypt (34%), New Zealand (35%), Switzerland (21%), United States (33%).

What are the 4 main types of violence? ›

Forms of violence
  • Physical violence. Any act which causes physical harm as a result of unlawful physical force. ...
  • Sexual violence. Any sexual act perfomed on an individual without their consent. ...
  • Psychological violence. Any act which causes psychological harm to an individual. ...
  • Economic violence.

What is the highest domestic violence? ›

Women are most likely to be in an abusive relationship in their twenties – specifically ages 18 to 34.
  • According to the BJS: 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women. ...
  • According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline: Women ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.

Why is domestic violence a big deal? ›

Today domestic violence is acknowledged as a serious, violent crime and part of society that harms women, increases child abuse, reduces medical resources, and endangers the lives and welfare of officers.

Who does domestic abuse affect most? ›

Women experience higher rates of repeated victimisation and are much more likely to be seriously hurt (Walby & Towers, 2017; Walby & Allen, 2004) or killed than male victims of domestic abuse (ONS, 2020A; ONS, 2020B).

What is domestic violence in human rights? ›

Any harm, injury to health, safety, life, limb or well-being or any other act or threatening or coercion, etc., by any adult member of the family, constitutes domestic violence. · Any woman who is, or has been in a domestic or family relationship, if subjected to any act of domestic violence can complain.

Is domestic violence a global problem? ›

Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is a significant global health and societal issue and remains a public health and social care challenge worldwide. DVA is a violation of human rights that impacts the health and well-being of survivors and their families.

Who gets abused the most? ›

Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner. 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon. Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior. Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.

Which countries violate womens rights? ›

Using these two sets of data, we've compiled ten of the worst countries for women's rights.
  1. Afghanistan. Afghanistan ranks last out of 170 countries on the WPS Index and 157th out of 162 on the UN Gender Inequality Index.
  2. Syria. ...
  3. South Sudan. ...
  4. Democratic Republic of Congo. ...
  5. Chad. ...
  6. Sudan. ...
  7. Sierra Leone. ...
  8. Somalia. ...
Aug 15, 2022

What is the most common form of domestic violence in America? ›

Most Common Forms

Physical Abuse: This can include actions such as pushing, restraining, slapping/punching, kicking, scratching, etc. Emotional Abuse: Typically, emotional abuse begins verbally.

What are 3 warning signs of violence? ›

While it's almost impossible to identify a person who wants to commit an act of violence, according to the American Psychological Association, violence is a serious possibility if a number of these warning signs are witnessed: Repeated loss of temper. Frequent physical fighting. Vandalism or property damage.

What are the 3 R's on stopping domestic violence? ›

As a military commander, I implore you to act on the three Rs of domestic violence awareness: recognize, respond and refer. Recognize the warning signs of domestic violence.

What are the 3 phases in the domestic violence cycle? ›

There are three phases in the cycle of violence: (1) Tension-Building Phase, (2) Acute or Crisis Phase, and (3) Calm or Honeymoon Phase. Without intervention, the frequency and severity of the abuse tends to increase over time.

Which type of abuse is the hardest to detect? ›

Emotional abuse often coexists with other forms of abuse, and it is the most difficult to identify. Many of its potential consequences, such as learning and speech problems and delays in physical development, can also occur in children who are not being emotionally abused.

Which state has the most domestic abuse? ›

Here are the 10 states with the higest rates of domestic violence:
  • Kentucky - 45.3%
  • North Carolina - 43.9%
  • Nevada - 43.8%
  • Alaska - 43.3%
  • Arizona - 42.6%
  • Washington - 42.6%
  • Idaho - 42.5%
  • Missouri - 41.7%

What type of relationship has the highest domestic violence rate? ›

Two new studies conducted by researchers at Sam Houston State University looked at how domestic violence affects people who've had at least one serious same-sex relationship and found that they were more likely to encounter domestic violence than heterosexual people.

How does domestic violence affect a person mentally? ›

Mental Health Effects of Domestic Violence

Major depressive disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Substance use disorders.

How does domestic violence affect the victim mentally? ›

Symptoms can include hostility, social and emotional isolation, flashbacks, anxiety, insomnia, and self-destructive behavior. Depression.

What is the main cause of abuse? ›

Factors that may increase a person's risk of becoming abusive include: A history of being abused or neglected as a child. Physical or mental illness, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Family crisis or stress, including domestic violence and other marital conflicts, or single parenting.

How do most domestic abuse cases end? ›

The vast majority of domestic violence defendants are first time offenders who have never been arrested before and are facing their first blush with the criminal justice system. Although it may seem very confusing, frustrating and stressful to go through the process most cases end with a dismissal of all charges.

Who are the most common abusers? ›

1 The adult may be a relative, caregiver, step-parent, religious figure, coach, or babysitter, though the majority of perpetrators are parents of the child. In the United States, children experience child abuse or neglect at a rate of 8.9 per 1,000 children.

What characteristics does a person who commits domestic violence have? ›

Written By WomenSafe, Inc.
12 Common Characteristics of Domestic Violence Abusers
  • Controlling. ...
  • Charming. ...
  • Jealous. ...
  • Inconsistent. ...
  • Manipulative. ...
  • Threatening. ...
  • Demanding. ...
  • Blames the Victim.
Oct 14, 2022

What is the punishment for domestic violence case? ›

(1) A breach of protection order, or of an interim protection order, by the respondent shall be an offence under this Act and shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees, or with both.

What two rights are violated by abuse within a relationship? ›

Domestic violence and sexual abuse violate victims human rights to life, health, personal freedom and security, as well as their right not to be tortured or exposed to other inhuman, cruel or degrading treatment, as guaranteed by the UDHR and other international laws.

Is domestic violence a human right violation? ›

Today, for instance, the concept of human rights violations includes domestic violence as a serious crime against the individual and society, which will not be excused or tolerated.

How does domestic violence affect society? ›

The Safety Risk to the Community at Large

Domestic violence abusers are not only a risk to their partners and family but also their community. While law enforcement officers are at an especially high risk of harm, violence wrought by abusers can also lead to injury or death of everyday bystanders.

Is domestic violence an economic issue? ›

Stopping violence against women is an indisputable moral imperative, but our research shows that it's economically important too. The economic costs of domestic violence are higher during downturns and could make recovery more challenging.

What age is most abused? ›

The highest rate of child abuse is in babies less than one year of age, and 25 percent of victims are younger than age three.

What age is more likely to be abused? ›

Child Sexual Abuse Is a Widespread Problem

Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

Who is considered an abuser? ›

An abusive relationship is a term that describes any relationship where one person exerts power and control over the other in a negative way. Abuse can be physical, but it can also be emotional, verbal, financial, or any other type of behavior that keeps one person under the control of another.

What country is #1 in women's rights? ›

Best Countries for Women – Top 20
RankCountryIndex Score
16 more rows
Nov 28, 2022

What country has the strongest women's rights? ›

Best Countries for Women
  • Sweden.
  • Norway.
  • Finland.
  • Denmark.
  • Switzerland.
  • Canada.

What is the best country to live in as a woman? ›

Norway has topped the list as the best place for women to live, followed by Finland, Iceland and Denmark, according to the latest report by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

What are the three 3 types of abuse against partners? ›

Intimate partner violence is one of the most common forms of violence against women and includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviours by an intimate partner.

Is domestic violence a crime in the US? ›

In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act ("VAWA"). This Act, and the 1996, 2000 and 2005 additions to the Act, recognizes that domestic violence is a national crime and that federal laws can help an overburdened state and local criminal justice system.

What is the most common form of female abuse? ›

Domestic violence

It encompasses all physical, sexual, emotional, economic and psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This is one of the most common forms of violence experienced by women globally.

What body language shows aggression? ›

Examples of aggressive body language may include: Sharp, angular gestures – making gestures that are not smooth, for example chopping hands, banging one fist against an open hand, finger-pointing or waving fists. Space invading – getting too close to someone else. Eyeballing – intense eye contact or staring.

How to know if someone is aggressive? ›

Signs and Symptoms of Aggression
  • Biting another person or an object.
  • Bullying.
  • Destroying property.
  • Excluding others.
  • Gossiping.
  • Having difficulty calming yourself down after exerting aggressive behavior.
  • Hitting another person or an object.
  • Ignoring someone on purpose.
Jul 23, 2017

How do you know if you're a violent person? ›

Violent behaviour is when you're physically harming others, or causing them to fear harm from you.
You might be violent because:
  1. you're frustrated, angry or pissed-off.
  2. you want to control someone else.
  3. you're repeating behaviours you've learnt from others.

What is the best way to end the cycle of violence? ›

To break the cycle of violence, children need services that focus on problem-solving and conflict management skills, healthy self-esteem and self-worthiness. Positive peer groups and social support are also needed.

How can abuse be stopped? ›

Simple support for children and parents can be the best way to prevent child abuse. After-school activities, parent education classes, mentoring programs, and respite care are some of the many ways to keep children safe from harm. Be a voice in support of these efforts in your community. Teach children their rights.

What is the third stage of abuse *? ›

Phase 3: “Honeymoon” Period

After the explosion, the abuser feels sorry for the explosion, and acts apologetic and loving. The abuser might say things like: I'll never do it again. I'm sorry, and I never meant to hurt you.

Why do people who are abused often stay silent? ›

Abuse survivors who choose not to come forward, report abuse or tell their stories are known as “silent victims.” Assault survivors may have many reasons for their silence, including: Extreme emotional or psychological trauma that is too difficult to face. Feelings of guilt, shame or embarrassment.

What is the first stage of spousal abuse? ›

Phase 1-Tension Building

In the first phase, tension builds in the relationship. Victims report their partners becoming increasingly irritable, frustrated, and unable to cope with every-day stresses. The abuser may lash out at the victim at this time, but generally stops and becomes apologetic.

What are the 4 types of violence *? ›

  • Physical Violence. Physical violence occurs when someone uses a part of their body or an object to control a person's actions.
  • Sexual Violence. ...
  • Emotional Violence. ...
  • Psychological Violence. ...
  • Spiritual Violence. ...
  • Cultural Violence. ...
  • Verbal Abuse. ...
  • Financial Abuse.

What is domestic relationship examples? ›

For example, any relative, like your uncle, your sister, your father, etc. Related by marriage. For example, your husband, your sister-in law, your brother-in law, etc. Relationship that is similar to the nature of marriage, like your live-in partner.

What does the law say about domestic violence? ›

Domestic violence in India includes any form of violence suffered by a person from a biological relative but typically is the violence suffered by a woman by male members of her family or relatives. Although Men also suffer Domestic violence, the law under IPC 498A specifically protects only women.

What are five main types of violence? ›

Using these as a basis, we shall distinguish five inter-related types of violence:
  • physical violence.
  • verbal violence (including hate speech)
  • psychological violence.
  • sexual violence.
  • socio-economic violence.

Which offenses are considered domestic offenses? ›

(2) “Domestic violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member ...

Is a boyfriend considered a domestic partner? ›

A domestic partnership is an arrangement in which two people live together and are in a committed relationship without being legally married. It shares many of the same benefits as being married. Domestic partnerships are composed of two people of any gender, which includes male, female, or nonbinary people.

What does domestic mean in law? ›

Domestic relations is a reference to the field of family law, which governs relations within a family or household. In the past, these relations were limited to those between spouses, parents and children, and legal guardians and wards.

Who is a domestic person? ›

Domestic generally means relating to someone's family, home, or home country. Domestic work is work done in the home — a domestic is someone who works in a home, such as a nanny or a maid. Domestic is also used to refer to products that are produced in your country, or policies and affairs that relate to your country.

How long do you go to jail for domestic violence in the US? ›

Penalties for Felony domestic violence

If you are charged with a felony, you will serve up to 4 years in state prison. The sentence could be longer depending on the seriousness of injuries you inflicted. Additionally, you will have to undergo a mandatory domestic violence class.

How long does a domestic violence case run? ›

Legislature set a time limit of 60 days for a Domestic Violence case to be disposed as prescribed under sec 12(5) of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Here are the Rules made under this Act. But the ground reality is totally different.

What are the 3 main forms of abuse? ›

Types and Signs of Abuse
  • Physical abuse is intentional bodily injury. ...
  • Sexual abuse is nonconsensual sexual contact (any unwanted sexual contact). ...
  • Mental mistreatment or emotional abuse is deliberately causing mental or emotional pain.


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