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Domestic Violence (DV)

Domestic violence (also called family violence) is a pattern of behavior and a method of control. One person dominates other household members by physical violence and/or psychological abuse.

If you can answer "yes" to any of the questions below, you may be in an abusive relationship which would qualify as "Domestic Violence." Does your partner:

  • Hit? Slap? Choke? Kick? Bite? Push? Use, or threaten to use, a weapon? Prevent you from leaving?
  • Call you degrading names? Threaten to harm you or your family? Torture your pet? Destroy your property?
  • Keep you from seeing your friends or family? Prohibit you from using a vehicle?
  • Force you to engage in sexual acts against your will?
  • Discourage or forbid you to work? Withhold the family's financial information from you?
  • Control all the family finances and accounts?
  • Fail to provide care or medical treatment that results in injury or damages your health and safety?

General Information

Help for Victims of DV

How to Protect Yourself

Safety for yourself and for your children must be your primary concern when you are experiencing violence in your home. Develop a plan. Figure out the best way to get yourself and your children to safety. Ask for help. Keep some money, an extra set of keys, identification records (birth certificates, social security cards) and other important documents and telephone numbers with a trusted friend. Let your neighbors know your situation. Ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises from your house. Teach your children how to use the telephone and how to contact the police or other help in an emergency.

If you are being abused by someone in your family or by a partner, CALL 911. The police are required to:

  • Respond to your call.
  • Make an arrest if there is probable cause that an assault has occurred.
  • Write a report of incident and give you a summary of the report.

The police are also required to request an Emergency Protective Order if they believe you are in further danger. This will order the abuser to:

  • Stop abusing you.
  • Stay away from you.

Places to Get Help



This guidance manual is part of the VDSS Child and Family Services Manual. The VDSS Child and Family Services Manual provides guidance for Family Services programs including Prevention, Child Protective Services, Foster Care and Adoption. This manual addresses Domestic Violence and provides information common to all program areas in Family Services.


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