What is / isn't family violence?

Family violence is a pattern of behavior used to gain power and control over another person. It is not an isolated argument between family members or strangers. It is not normal, reasonable discipline of children.

Abuse comes in many forms, including physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, and financial.

Physical Abuse

Physical Abuse: when anyone you know uses violent force against you to make you behave a certain way. This can include punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting, burning, or any action that causes you pain and injury. They are not accidents. If you're physically abused, you may have cuts, bruises or marks on your body.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse: when anyone you know forces or coerces you into sexual behavior you don't want to do, such as rape or watching/making pornography. It doesn't have to be physical either: calling you inappropriate names, like "Sexy" and "Hottie" or talking about sexual topics which make you feel uncomfortable, is also abusive. If you are sexually abused, you may be scared, confused, feel "dirty" and wash excessively.

Psychological/Verbal Abuse

Psychological/Verbal Abuse: when anyone you know puts you down, calls you names or accuses you of things you haven't done to make you feel worthless. Abusers may also deny they have hurt you and make you question your sanity (i.e.: "I didn't hit you that hard" or "If you hadn't done X, I wouldn't have had to hurt you"), or isolate you from family and friends. If you are psychologically or verbally abused, you may feel all alone and that no one cares about you.

Financial Abuse

Financial Abuse: when anyone you know uses finances as a way to control you, such as tracking and questioning all your purchases, not letting you spend money without their permission, giving you an "allowance" based on their judgments of your behavior, harassing you at your work/forcing you to lose your job so that you are financially dependent on them, etc. If you are financially abused, you may not have the funds to escape an abusive relationship.

Is there help available?

Yes. There are state and national resources available to victims who need help realizing what is happening to them, who are trying to leave their abuser and/or who are safe and attempting to heal from their abuse. You can access the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's State Coalitions webpage to find resources near you.

Use this link to learn more about the Heart & Hope program

Baker-Tingey, J. 2021, Heart & Hope Frequently Asked Questions, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Blog Post

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Also of Interest:

 
The Medical Cost of Domestic Violence
What is typically igonored is the financial cost domestic violence places on society, in terms of housing, child care, employment and criminal justice services
C. Powell, P. Powell, J. Baker-Tingey 2018, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno FS-18-02
Domestic Violence’s Effect on Children
Children don’t have to be victims of domestic violence to suffer from it. Simply witnessing violence (seeing or hearing it) can damage a child’s ability to connect with and trust others, preventing them from building the crucial relationships they need to succeed to their fullest...
Baker-Tingey, J., Powell, C., and Powell, P. 2017, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Fact Sheet 17-06
Heart & Hope Law Enforcement Training
Details regarding law enforcement training for the Heart & Hope domestic violence program.
Baker-Tingey, J. 2021, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Blog Post
How to help a victim of domestic violence
The purpose of this publication is to provide an overview of the difficulties victims face when leaving an abusive situation, and what we can do to help them be successful in leaving.
Powell, P. and Smith, M. 2012, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-12-08
Orders of Protection: Domestic Violence
The purpose of this fact sheet is to describe what an Order of Protection is, the process followed to obtain one, and the need to report order violations.
Powell, P. and Smith, M. 2012, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-12-07
 

Associated Programs

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Heart & Hope: Family Violence Prevention Program

Program works to promote resiliency, strengthen positive future relationships and stop the domestic violence cycle