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Domestic Violence

Printable Domestic Violence Protective Order

Domestic violence, also known as partner abuse, spouse abuse, or battering, occurs when one person uses force to inflict emotional or physical injury upon another person they have, or had, a relationship with. It occurs between spouses and partners, parents and children, children and grandparents, and brothers and sisters. Victims can be any age, race, or gender.

Domestic violence is the single largest cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than muggings, car accidents, and rapes combined. Each year between 2 million and 4 million women are battered, and 2,000 of these battered women die of their injuries.

Without help, abuse will continue and likely worsen. Many resources are available to help you understand your options and to support you. No one deserves to be abused.

It may or may not be easy to identify the abuse. An abusive relationship can start subtly. If you can answer yes to any or all of these questions, you should seek help for domestic violence:

  • Have you ever been hit, kicked, shoved or threatened with violence by a partner or family member?
  • Do you feel that you have no choice about how you spend your time, where you go, or what you wear?
  • Have you been accused by your partner or a family member of things you've never done?
  • Must you ask your partner or s family member for permission to make everyday decisions?
  • Do you feel bad about yourself because your partner or s family member calls you names, insults you or puts you down?
  • Is time with your family and friends limited because of your partner's demands?
  • Do you submit to sexual intercourse or engage in sexual acts against your will?
  • Do you accept your partner's or a family member’s decisions because you're afraid of his anger?
  • Are you accused of being unfaithful?
  • Do you change your behavior in an effort to not anger your partner or a family member?

Leaving an abuser can be dangerous. You're the only person who knows the safest time to leave. Make sure you prepare a safety plan so that you can act quickly when the time is right. In an emergency situation, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency. If you aren't in immediate danger, consider contacting one of the following resources:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline — (800) 799-SAFE. Provides crisis intervention and referrals to in-state or out-of-state resources, such as women's shelters or crisis centers. 
  • Your doctor or hospital emergency room. Treats any injuries and refers you to safe housing and other local resources. 
  • Local women's shelter or crisis center. Typically provides 24-hour, emergency shelter for you and your children, advice on legal matters, advocacy and support services, and evaluation and monitoring of abusers. Some shelters have staff members who speak multiple languages.
  • Counseling or mental health center. Most communities have agencies that provide individual counseling and support groups to women in abusive relationships. Be wary of anyone who advises couples or marriage counseling. This isn't appropriate for abusive relationships. 
  • Attorney. Your attorney can help you obtain a court order, which legally mandates the abuser stay away from you or face arrest. These are typically called orders for protection or restraining orders. 

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