Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention

Domestic violence is a serious and prevalent problem in the United States today. As we approach the two most common days of domestic abuse in the U.S., Christmas Day and the Super Bowl Sunday, it’s a good time to take a look at some facts about domestic violence and what you can do to prevent it.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence occurs between people involved in close personal relationships and can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional and/or psychological abuse. Regardless of the form it takes, at its root, domestic violence is any pattern of behavior by one partner designed to maintain power and control over the other.

Who does domestic violence affect?

Domestic violence has obvious effects on the abused partner, including physical, emotional, and psychological trauma. The abuser may also be subject to criminal or civil penalties under the law.

Beyond the primary players, children can also be severely affected by domestic violence. Children who witness these behaviors can be instilled with the idea that this is normal behavior and may become the next generation of abusers.

What are early warning signs of domestic violence?

It can be difficult, sometimes impossible, to predict when a relationship has the potential to become abusive from the beginning, but there are some common early warning signs to be aware of. These include:

• Jealously of friends, family, and/or coworkers and dissuading spending time with them
• Public or private humiliation and/or shaming
• Extreme control over what a partner wears or how they act
• Extreme control of household finances
• Obstruction of the partner’s ability to work or attend school
• Excessive checking up on or even stalking a partner
• Exhibitions of extreme anger

Domestic Violence Statistics from 2003-2012 (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

The following are important statistics compiled using data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

• 21% of all violent crime was attributed to domestic violence
• 77% of domestic violence incidents occurred at or near the victim’s home
• 45% of domestic violence incidents resulted in injury
• People age 18-24 reported the highest number of domestic violence incidents
• The majority of domestic violence was committed by former or current spouses or boyfriends/girlfriends
• Almost half (45%) of domestic violence incidents were not reported to the police

If you are in an abusive relationship or suspect someone close to you is, help is available. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Or, here in the Tampa Bay area, visit to find legal and social services for victims of domestic