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Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors that one partner uses to establish and maintain power and control over the other person in the relationship.
Abusive behavior can include physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and financial tactics. Behaviors such as hitting, slapping, shoving, choking, forced or coerced sexual activity, name-calling, put-downs, threats, intimidation, and denying access to money are abusive. While there are many different forms that abuse can take, it centers around one partner controlling the other.
Domestic violence occurs across all socioeconomic, racial, ethnic,and religious backgrounds. It happens in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, and both men and women can be victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
Approach them in an understanding, non-blaming way. Tell them that they are not alone.
Acknowledge that it is scary and difficult to talk about domestic violence. Tell them that they don't deserve to be threatened, hit, or beaten. Nothing a person can do or say makes the abuser's violence acceptable.
Share information. Show them different resources on domestic violence. Discuss the dynamics of violence and how abuse is based on power and control.
Ask if they have suffered physical harm. Go with them to the hospital to check for injuries. Help report the assault to the police, if they choose to do so.
Point them in the direction of professional help, including social services, emergency shelter, counseling services, and legal advice.
Check in with them regularly.
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