About Domestic Violence

NYSCADV defines domestic violence as a pattern of coercive behavior or tactics that is culturally learned and socially condoned.  It can include physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse, and is perpetrated by one person against their intimate partner. Domestic violence can also be perpetrated by and/or against a member of the same family or household.

Domestic violence does not discriminate based on race, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, religious affiliation, or social location, but rather is perpetrated by abusers from all social groups.  Every victim of domestic violence has the right to legal relief and supportive services.

While the dynamics of abuse in the relationship are the same for members of different communities or social groups, an individual’s experience, response, or needs in relation to the abuse can be unique depending on their identity or membership within a certain social group.  LGBTQ victims, victims of color, victims with varying abilities, immigrant victims, or refugee victims of domestic or teen dating violence may experience different forms of abuse, and barriers to service, directly related to their identity.  Every victim of domestic violence, whether female or male, gay or straight, has the right to safety and assistance.

The following checklist may help you decide if you or someone you know is being abused. Please note: this is not an exhaustive list, just a guideline.

Does your partner:

  • behave in an over-protective manner or become extremely jealous?
  • threaten to hurt you, your children, pets, family members, friends or themselves?
  • call, text, or email you at an excessive rate?
  • deny you access to resources, such as: bank accounts, credit cards, or the car, or control all finances and force you to account for what you spend?
  • prevent you from seeing family or friends?
  • get suddenly angry or lose their temper?
  • destroy personal property or throw things around? control how you dress
  • withhold medication or deny you access to health care?
  • threaten to reveal your personal medical status or history?
  • use your status within a religious community to harass, threaten, or intimidate you?
  • participate in behaviors that make you question your mental health
  • threaten to expose your citizenship status or have you deported?
  • use intimidation or manipulation to control you or your children?
  • hit, punch, slap, kick, shove, choke or bite you?
  • deny you access to your immigration documents?
  • control where you go, when you can go, and who you are with?
  • make you perform sexual acts that you did not want to do?
  • control your expression of gender identity or sexual orientation?
  • threaten to “out” you if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer?
  • humiliate or embarrass you in front of other people?
  • exploit their military status to prevent you from leaving?
  • prevent you from completing your schoolwork or work tasks?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be a victim of domestic violence. You are not to blame and you are not alone.  Help is available.  Click here to find your local domestic violence service provider.