Advocates Against Family Violence

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The  following list (from "Domestic Violence: The Facts") identifies a series of behaviors typically demonstrated by batterers and abusive people.  All of these forms of abuse, psychological, economic, and physical - come from the batterer's desire for power and control.  The list can help you recognize if you or someone you know is in a violent relationship with an intimate partner, spouse, parent, sibling or other family member.

Emotional and Economic Attacks
Destructive Criticism/Verbal Abuse:   Name-calling; mocking; accusing; blaming; yelling; screaming; making humiliating remarks or gestures.

Pressure Tactics:   Emotional "guilt-tripping;" manipulating children to obtain what they want form their partner; telling you what to do.

Abusing Authority:   Always claiming to be right and insisting that their statements are "the truth" and more logical.

Disrespect:   Putting down in front of other people; attacking the character of you, your friends and family.

Abusing Trust:   Lying; withholding information; cheating on you; being overly jealous.

Breaking Promises:   Having a pattern of not following through.

Emotional Withholding:   Not respecting feelings, rights, or opinions.

Minimizing, Denying & Blaming:   Making light of your concerns; saying the abuse didn't happen; saying you or someone else were the cause for their behavior

Economic Control:   Not letting you work; refusing to give you money or taking it from you.

Self-Destructive Behavior:   Abusing alcohol or drugs; threatening suicide or other forms of self-harm; deliberately saying or doing things that will have negative consequences.

Isolation:   Prevention you form seeing friends or relatives; monitoring phone calls; telling you where you can and cannot go.

Harassment:   Making uninvited visits or calls; following you, embarrassing you in public; refusing to leave when asked.

Acts of Violence
Intimidation:   Making angry or threatening gestures; use of physical size to intimidate.

Destruction:   Destroying your possessions (e.g. furniture); punching walls; throwing and/or breaking things.

Threats:   Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt you or others.

Sexual Violence:   Degrading treatment based on your sex or sexual orientation; using force or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts.

Physical Violence:   Being violent to you, your children, household pets or others; slapping; punching; grabbing; kicking; choking; pushing; biting; burning; stabbing; shoots; etc..

Weapons:   Use of weapons, keeping weapons around which frighten you; threatening to attempting to kill you or those you love.

The higher number of these "red flag" behaviors you recognize in your situation or someone you know the more at risk for becoming a victim of domestic violence.  See our Safety Planning Section for steps you can take to protect yourself and/or your children from further harm


Educate yourself on the warning signs of "abusive" behavior.
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