Domestic violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive and/or violent tactics perpetrated by one person against a family member or intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over that person.

Domestic violence can happen in all kinds of intimate relationships, including married couples, people who are dating, couples who live together, people with children in common, same-sex or gender-nonconforming partners, people who were formerly in a relationship with the person abusing them, and teen dating relationships.

Information for survivors and victims >>

Types of domestic violence

Abusive behaviors are not symptoms that someone is angry or out of control. An abuser makes a deliberate choice to exert power and control over his or her partner.

Physical abuse

  • Pushing/shoving
  • Slapping
  • Kicking
  • Punching
  • Strangulation
  • Misuse of objects to strike the victim (belt, umbrella, etc).
  • Striking objects, the wall, etc. in view of the victim as a threat of violence

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is a tool used by those who want to make their partners feel scared, crazy, worthless, or responsible for the abuse. The abuser's goal is control over the victim. Emotional abuse may include:

  • Making jokes about the victim
  • Insults
  • Criticizing the victim's competence
  • Ignoring the victim's feelings
  • Withholding affection as a form of punishment
  • Blaming the victim for all problems
  • Yelling at the victim
  • Humiliating the victim in front of others
  • Accusing the victim of being the abusive partner
  • Threatening to take the children away from the victim
  • Threatening physical violence
  • Threatening suicide to punish the victim

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is one of the least discussed, but most common, forms of domestic violence. Sexual abuse may include:

  • Sexual jokes that make the victim uncomfortable
  • Treating women as sex objects
  • Criticizing the victim's sexuality
  • Using sexual jealousy as a tool of control
  • Uncomfortable or unwanted touch
  • Withholding sex as punishment
  • Demanding sex
  • Flaunting affairs
  • Rape
  • Sex after beatings
  • Sexual torture

Social abuse

Social abuse is used to isolate the victim from others in the community. The fewer people the victim is connected with, the more control the abuser has over the victim. Examples of social abuse include:

  • Insisting that the couple spend all their time together
  • Discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family
  • Forbidding the victim to see friends or family
  • Monitoring the victim's mail or phone calls
  • Checking the odometer
  • Restricting access to the car or car keys
  • Telling others the victim is crazy or abusive

Financial abuse

Abusers often attempt to establish financial control over victims. Victims who are financially dependent on abusers have fewer resources for escape. Financial abuse includes:

  • Making all financial decisions for the household
  • Keeping financial secrets
  • Monitoring the victim's spending
  • Controlling the victim's access to cash
  • Refusing to let the victim work
  • Forcing the victim to turn over income to the abuser

Batterers' intervention programs >>


Articles and publications >>


External links


The Family Violence Coordinating Council (FVCC) is a multi-agency, a multi-jurisdictional forum for the coordination of domestic violence intervention efforts within Multnomah County

Multnomah County Domestic Violence Coordination Office acts as a community resource for the prevention of, and intervention in, domestic violence by providing information, consultation, and technical assistance to community groups who want to address this important issue.

Oregon Department of Justice - Crime Victims' Services Division seeks to reduce the impact of crime on victims' lives by supporting statewide victim services programs, promoting victims' rights, and providing victims access to information and resources.

Oregon Law Center provides free and low-cost civil legal (NOT criminal) services to eligible Oregon residents.

Oregon Law Help is a website providing free Oregon-specific legal reference information.

Partnership for Safety and Justice (PSJ) is a Portland-based nonprofit that works with people convicted of crime, survivors of crime, and the families of both to advocate for public safety policy changes and increased social and community support for survivors of crime.

Angel Flight West is an organization that ordinarily provides MEDEVAC and Aeromedical Evacuation services to acute-care patients needing air transportation. However, in certain circumstances, they are able to help relocate survivors of domestic violence who are attempting to flee an abuser.


AEquitas - The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women

End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) provides multidisciplinary training and expert consultation regarding crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence.

National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) provides training and assistance to the statewide and territorial coalitions against domestic violence. It also furthers public awareness of domestic violence and changes beliefs that condone intimate partner violence.

National Center on Domestic & Sexual Violence (NCDSV) designs, provides, and customizes training and consultation, influences policy, promotes collaboration and enhances diversity with the goal of ending domestic and sexual violence.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) organizes for collective power by advancing transformative work, thinking and leadership of communities and individuals working to end the violence in our lives.

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence engages with and learns from, informs and supports systems, organizations, communities, and individuals to strengthen capacity to effectively address domestic violence and intersecting issues.

VAWnet: The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), is a comprehensive and easily accessible online collection of full-text, searchable materials and resources on domestic violence, sexual violence and related issues.

Women's Law, now managed by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), was launched to provide state-specific legal information and resources for survivors of domestic violence.