What is Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere, and understanding what this type of violence looks like can be a big factor in not only preventing it, but also overcoming it.


Domestic abuse includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, stalking, financial control, emotional, and psychological abuse. It can be defined as a pattern of abusive and threatening actions used to exert power and control over an intimate partner or spouse. Violence can escalate over time and can be life-threatening in some situations. Victims of domestic violence often feel trapped by their abusers, whether by fear or by social, economic, religious, cultural or emotional barriers.

At SafeHouse, we respond to the crisis of domestic violence while working towards prevention and the fostering of healthy, respectful, violence-free relationships in our community.

Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

Many people do not realize they are in an abusive relationship because they have not yet been physically hurt.

These are the most common warning signs associated with all types of abusive relationships:

  • Physical abuse or the threat of abuse of the victim, children, or pets
  • Controlling finances or withholding money
  • Sabotaging a partner’s job by making them miss work, constantly calling them at work, showing up uninvited, etc.
  • Verbal insults that humiliate a partner
  • Threatening to out a partner’s sexual orientation
  • Stealing or insisting on having a partner’s Internet or bank passwords
  • Isolating a partner from family and friends
  • Is your partner insulting you, putting you down or blaming you for everything that happens?
  • Is your partner telling you that you are not worthy or “not good enough” to be loved?
  • Is your partner excessively jealous and/or overly possessive?
  • Is your partner prone to an explosive or “bad temper?”
  • Is your partner keeping you from having your own friends, or seeing your family?
  • Is your partner keeping you from having your own opinions, or not allowing you to speak freely?
  • Is your partner keeping you from carrying or spending money, controlling how much you spend or making financial decisions without your input?
  • Is your partner threatening you in any way, which makes you feel afraid?
  • Is your partner someone who destroys things or possessions when angry?
  • Is your partner pushing, slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, or grabbing you at the neck, or pulling your hair?
  • Is your partner forcing you to have sex when you don’t want to?
  • Is your partner threatening to hurt or kill you, your children, pets or members of your family?
  • ANY of the following incidents are signs of increased danger:
  • Abuse is happening more often.
  • Partner’s controlling behavior becomes more obvious to others.
  • Stalking, electronic tracking and checking phone for calls and texts.
  • Telling a partner who he/she can or can’t hang out with, be Facebook friends with, or text
  • Physical contact or “sex-play” gets rougher.
  • Partner tries to strangle you, puts hands around your neck or applies pressure to your neck.
  • Partner has access to a gun.
  • Partner abuses drugs or alcohol. Increased danger if partner gets drunk or high daily or almost daily.
  • Partner threatens to kill self or others.
  • You become pregnant and your partner becomes increasingly jealous or controlling.
  • Partner is increasingly jealous, suspicious, or possessive.
  • Partner hurts or kills pets.
  • Partner feels as though he is losing control over you.
  • Someone outside of your home becomes aware of the abuse.
  • If you need help leaving an abusive relationship, call SafeHouse’s 24 hour crisis hotline:  407-330-3933.

If you are a victim of abuse, you are not to blame. We are here to help.