What Is Domestic Violence?

What is Domestic Violence

It is a pattern of controlling behaviors – violence or threats of violence – that one person uses to establish power over an intimate partner in order to control that partner’s actions and activities. Domestic violence is not a disagreement, a marital spat, or an anger management problem. Domestic violence is abusive, disrespectful, and hurtful behaviors that one intimate partner chooses to use against the other partner.

You may be experiencing domestic violence if your partner is doing any of these or other unwanted behaviors:

  • Hurting you physically – slapping, hair pulling, strangling, hitting, kicking, grabbing, excessively squeezing or shaking, twisting your arms, burning you, or intentionally injuring you in any way
  • Using your children against you
  • Calling you names and hurting you emotionally
  • Harming your pets
  • Acting with extreme jealousy and possessiveness
  • Isolating you from family and friends
  • Threatening to commit suicide or to kill you
  • Controlling your money
  • Withholding medical help
  • Stalking you
  • Demanding sex or unwanted sex practices
  • Withholding medical help
  • Hiding assistive devices
  • Minimizing the destructive behavior
  • Threatening to “out” you if you are Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or transgender
  • Controlling you with “that certain look in his eyes” or certain gestures

If you are a victim of abuse, you are never to blame. It is not your fault.
All of the tactics above are abusive, and some may also constitute a crime under Florida Statutes (see definition). 

As defined in law
741.28 Domestic violence; definitions. --As used in ss. 741.28-741.31: "Department" means the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

"Domestic violence" means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

"Family or household member" means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

"Law enforcement officer" means any person who is elected, appointed, or employed by any municipality or the state or any political subdivision thereof who meets the minimum qualifications established in s. 943.13 and is certified as a law enforcement officer under s. 943.1395.

Domestic Violence is an Epidemic

  •  An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • On average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States.
  • Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct health care services.
  • In Florida, there were 107,666 acts of domestic violence reported to law enforcement in 2015.
  • In fiscal year 2015-2016, Florida's certified domestic violence centers provided emergency shelter to 16,362 survivors of domestic violence and their children totaling 600,621 nights in shelter.
  • During the same time period, advocates in certified domestic violence centers provided 113,907 safety plans and responded to 95,412 hotline calls; the  Florida Domestic Violence Hotline received an additional 27,587 calls.

In A Single Day*

  • Received         857 hotline calls
  • Sheltered         2,026 in emergency shelter or transitional housing
  • Provided          1,524 adults and children with outreach services

* http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2014/FL.pdf

In A Single Year*

  • Received         130,776 hotline calls
  • Sheltered         15,397 in emergency shelter
  • Provided          33,297 adults and children with outreach services

* Fiscal year 2014-15

Florida Domestic Violence Hotline
FCADV operates the statewide domestic violence hotline. Information is available in English, Spanish, and Creole. From anywhere in Florida, a survivor can access the nearest domestic violence center for emergency services by dialing 1-800-500-1119 and pressing the number 1 after the prompt answers. Legal advice, referrals, and information for victims are available by pressing 3 on the menu. To speak with the FCADV administrative office or obtain resources from the statewide library, press 4 on the menu.

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