Domestic violence occurs when a person is acting in a violent, abusive way toward their intimate partner. This is a devastating issue that concerns every culture, age, sexuality, and ethnicity. It is common for families that are experiencing domestic violence to also become involved with the child welfare system. On this page, you will find resources that define domestic violence and outline the various types of abuse. This page also offers strategies for identifying and addressing signs of abuse and provides other helpful resources.
Definitions of Domestic Violence
Domestic or Intimate Partner Violence
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office on Women's Health
Provides a definition of domestic violence and intimate partner violence and offers resources on signs of abuse, how to leave an abusive relationship, getting a restraining order, effects on children, and more.
Psychology Today (2021)
Offers a definition of domestic violence and what constitutes abuse. The website also provides information on how abuse impacts victims, how to identify an abusive partner, how survivors of abuse cope, and fighting against domestic violence.
U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women
Defines domestic violence and provides resources including hotlines to call for help and additional informative resources.
Domestic Violence/Domestic Abuse Definitions and Relationships
National Conference of State Legislatures (2019)
Presents a chart that displays information on State domestic violence definitions and provisions that may include talking, harassment, and in some cases, nonphysical abuse. States have also addressed the issue of children witnessing domestic violence.
Economic Empowerment Strategies for Women: Glossary of Terms
Battered Women's Support Services (2021)
Lists terms relating to violence against women and economic empowerment. The glossary consists of two parts: (1) focusing on domestic violence and (2) focusing on financial terms women should understand.
Understand Relationship Abuse
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Defines domestic violence and discusses the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse, and economic deprivation. The website uses the Power & Control wheel as a visual to describe most accurately what occurs in an abusive relationship.
What is the Definition of Domestic Violence?
Provides a definition of domestic violence and discusses types of abuse such as physical, sexual, emotional, economic, psychological, threats, and stalking. The website also describes dating violence.