Domestic Violence & Abuse
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Domestic violence can include physical, emotional, psychological, economic, and/or sexual abuse. Abusers use threats, intimidation, isolation, and other behaviors to gain and maintain power over their victims.
Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Domestic violence occurs in same-sex relationships, and men can be victims as well.
Other terms for domestic violence include intimate partner violence, battering, relationship abuse, spousal abuse, or family violence.
Are you seeking help? Visit our Get Help for Domestic Violence page.
Domestic Violence: What are Some Signs?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, domestic violence may include:
- Physical abuse such as slapping, kicking, hitting, shoving, or other physical force.
- Sexual abuse including rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, or interfering with birth control.
- Emotional abuse such as shouting, name-calling, humiliation, constant criticism, or harming the victim’s relationship with her or his children.
- Psychological abuse including threats to harm the victims' family, friends, children, co-workers, or pets, isolation, mind games, destruction of victims' property, or stalking.
- Economic abuse such as controlling the victim’s money, withholding money for basic needs, interfering with school or job, or damaging the victim’s credit.
Several or all of the above forms of violence and abuse may take place.
U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence against Women, What is Domestic Violence?
Other Types: Elder Abuse & Abuse of Persons with Disabilities
Elder abuse is the mistreatment of an elderly person by a family member or caregiver. Abuse of people with disabilities occurs when an intimate partner, family member, or caregiver abuses someone—of any age—who has a disability. As with domestic violence, elder abuse and abuse of people with disabilities can include physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological abuse, financial exploitation, and/or neglect, including the denial of basic needs such as food and medical care.
Remember that no one - not your caretaker, not a family member - has the right to:
- Deny you meals or medication
- Hide or break your eyeglasses, hearing aid, or false teeth
- Threaten to hurt you or your children, friends, family members, or pets
- Humiliate, be cruel, or speak harshly to you
- Keep you away from friends and family
- Take your Social Security checks
- Spend your rent or food money
- Steal your belongings
- Hit, beat, push or restrain you
- Force you to have sexual contact
- Keep you locked up
If you are over 60 or have a disability and any of these things are happening to you, call Safe Horizon’s 24-hour hotline at 800.621.HOPE (4673).
Remember, you are not to blame. You have a right to be safe and feel secure in your own home.
Other Types: Teen Dating Violence
Dating violence can happen among young people, and can affect youth regardless of social, economic, racial, ethnic, gender, or sexual orientation differences. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, girls and women between the ages of 16 and 24 are at greatest risk of becoming domestic violence victims, and experience abuse at a rate three times greater than other groups.
Find out more about this issue by visiting our Teen Dating Violence Facts page.
Other Types: Child Abuse
Child abuse, or child maltreatment, is an act by a parent, caretaker, sibling, family member, or other person that results in physical or emotional harm to a child. Emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect are all different forms of child maltreatment.
Visit our Child Abuse & Incest page to learn more.
To report suspected child abuse in New York, call the New York State Child Abuse Hotline: 800.342.3720.
Safe Horizon is the largest provider of domestic violence services in the United States, and the largest provider of domestic violence residences for battered women and men. Our residents provide more than 700 beds throughout New York City, operating both emergency shelters for crisis situations and transitional housing where families may stay for several months in order to plan for a future free from violence. The shelters offer comprehensive services including counseling, housing assistance, life skills and parenting courses, childcare, and medical aid.
If you are a victim of domestic violence and are in need of shelter, please call our hotline.
Take a virtual tour of one of our shelters.
Read about our newest shelter, Rose House.
The NO MORE campaign is an effort to increase awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault, ending the stigma surrounding both that can often keep victims from seeking urgently-needed help. The logo at left is a symbol of the movement and of Safe Horizon's commitment to providing victims and their families with support and services.
*Images used are representations of Safe Horizon's clients.