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Overview of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence encompasses a wide range of acts committed by one person against another in an intimate relationship or within a family. It is a pattern of coercive behavior that is used by one person to gain power and control over another. This may include physical violence, sexual, emotional and psychological intimidation, verbal abuse, stalking and economic control. It may take the form of breaking objects, hurting/killing pets, yelling, driving recklessly to endanger or scare the victim, isolating the victim from friends and family members and controlling resources like money, vehicles, credit, medications and time. In same gender relationships, it can include threats to out the victim.

Domestic violence can happen to people of all racial, economic, educational, religious backgrounds and in heterosexual and same gender relationships. While both men and women may be victims of domestic violence, research shows that the overwhelming majority of adult victims are women and that domestic violence is a major cause of injury to women.

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