Mother holding young daughter, both are smilingDomestic Violence Facts

Domestic violence is NEVER the survivor’s fault.

Domestic violence is always a deliberate choice made by an abuser to control their partner. It is never cause by a survivor’s behavior or actions.

Domestic violence affects women and men.

Domestic violence affects people of all ages, sexes, cultures, religions, professions and income levels, yet remains widely under-reported. More than 1 in 4 women (27%) and more than 1 in 9 men (11%) have reported experiencing sexual violence, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner and suffered significant impacts such as PTSD and injury as a result.1

Domestic violence exists in all types of communities.

Intimate partner violence occurs among all types of families, regardless of income, religion, ethnicity, educational level or race. While low-income people are over-represented in calls to police, shelters and social services, this may be due to a lack of other resources at their disposal.

Domestic violence incidents are not isolated occurrences.

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior aimed at gaining and maintaining power and control over an intimate partner. The pattern is often described as a cycle. However, because the seriousness of abuse often escalates with each episode, many survivors describe the pattern as a spiral.

It can be hard for survivors to leave.

Leaving can end the violence. When it does not, however, the continuing violence may become more severe than for individuals who never tried to leave. Leaving an intimate partner is a contributing factor in about 45 percent of murders where a man kills a woman.2 This is a powerful deterrent to leaving. Often a person who leaves is tracked by the abuser and threatened with harm if the person does not return. The nature of domestic violence also encourages conditions that keep a person economically dependent and socially isolated. Get more information about why people stay.

Domestic violence isn’t just physical or sexual violence.

Violence and abuse show up differently for every survivor. While abusers frequently use physical and sexual abuse against spouses and partners to maintain dominance and power, abusers also frequently use psychological, emotional and economic abuse tactics to maintain control. Read more about the definition of domestic violence and different types of abuse.

Drug and alcohol use do not cause domestic violence.

While drugs and alcohol are often present in domestic violence situations, they are not a cause of violence and abuse between partners. However, the presence of drugs and/or alcohol can make a domestic violence situation become much worse and has been shown to increase risk of fatality for victims.

Mental illness does not cause domestic violence.

Many people suffer from mental health challenges, but few of them abuse their partners. Even if someone has a mental illness it is neither the cause of nor an excuse for domestic violence.