About Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse isn't always violent. It often starts with non-violent forms of controlling or abusive behavior such as yelling, threats, financial control, jealousy, and degrading behavior. This website cannot assess your particular relationship as being abusive or not. Seek guidance about your situation by calling us, or from a counselor, social services advocate, or call one of the victim services agencies from our Shelter Directory for a confidential assessment.


Abuse in the home can take on several unfortunate forms. The phrase domestic violence is commonly used to describe both family violence and intimate partner violence. Families to Freedom serves those leaving intimate partner relationships where some form of abusive behavior is pervasive, habitual, recurring and/or damaging. We also serve adults fleeing a family violence situation.

  • Intimate Partner Violence - Abuse occurring within a couple's intimate relationship. Intimate violence may include physical, verbal, emotional, financial and sexual abuse. The abuser is a current or former intimate partner.
  • Family Violence - Abusive behavior between family members including elder abuse and child abuse

According to the CDC, an intimate partner is a person with whom one has a close personal relationship that can be characterized by the following:

  • Emotional connectedness
  • Regular contact
  • Ongoing physical contact and sexual behavior
  • Identity as a couple
  • Familiarity and knowledge about each others lives

See also the CDC’s 2020 Intimate Partner Violence Factsheet.

Forms of Violence

Violence in the home hurts everyone. Children that witness or experience family violence are especially vulnerable to lasting emotional damage and adhering to abusive behaviors. Below are some of the ways an abusive partner may behave:

Financial Control

  • maintains control over income
  • withholding money and access to money
  • forbidding employment or education
  • requires justification for all money spent
  • withhold information about debt or due bills that the victim is responsible for


  • stalking by using technology
  • hacking into email, phone, personal accounts, and devices to monitor activity
  • using tracking app or device to monitor location, phone calls, and text messages
  • monitoring social media activity
  • keeping or demanding to know passwords


  • says demeaning things
  • blames partner for everything
  • name-calling, put downs, insults
  • intimidating threats
  • screams in the face


  • justifies abusive behavior as acceptable
  • public shaming and humiliation
  • undermines self-esteem and confidence
  • extreme jealousy, even over attention to children and family
  • stalking and obsessive calling


  • isolation from others
  • silent treatment
  • denying abuse happened
  • forcing false information to confuse or doubt reality
  • damage physical property
  • harming others you care about like pets or children


  • hitting, pushing, slapping, punching, kicking
  • choking
  • burning
  • controlling or forcing medication or illicit drugs
  • harm with blunt objects or weapons
  • murder


  • forcing sex or sex acts
  • unwanted filming or photography
  • initiates sex when unconscious or coerced into silence
  • physical abuse during sex
  • coercing sex without protection or sabotaging birth control
  • forcing to have sex with others

If you feel trapped in an abusive relationship- get help! Get to a safe place then call a local shelter for advice. Consider calling from someone else's phone or non-mobile phone if you think you are being monitored. You can also delete your call history on your mobile phone.

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