Everyone knows a victim of domestic violence. They are our neighbors, our co-workers and members of our family. Most victims of domestic violence are women, although men can be battered too. Domestic violence occurs within a family or an intimate relationship as a way for one person to control another.
Domestic violence includes physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, choking, shoving, not allowing someone to leave home or using objects like knives and guns to cause injury. It also includes harming someone emotionally by threats, name-calling and put-downs. Victims may be raped or forced into unwanted sex acts. A spouse or partner may steal money and other items, destroy personal belongings, hurt pets, threaten children or not allow someone to work or see their friends and family.
If any of these things are happening to you, or you are afraid of your partner, you may be in an abusive relationship. Domestic violence is a crime and there are legal protections available to you. You can get help. Leaving a violent relationship isn't easy. Victims stay because of money, family pressure, concern for kids or fear of their partner.
Where to get help:
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-787-3224 (TTY for the Deaf)
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Among the services provided to domestic violence victims are: crisis intervention; counseling; accompaniment to police, medical, and court facilities; and temporary emergency shelter for victims and their dependent children. Prevention and educational programs are provided to lessen the risk of domestic violence in the community at large.
1-800-932-4632 (in Pennsylvania)
Pennsylvania State Police Victims Services Program
More information available through the Department of Public Welfare Child Support Program.