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Domestic Violence

Abuse occurs in all types of relationships and among people with varying backgrounds of age, race, religion, financial status, sexual orientation and education. Domestic violence occurs when an abusive family member or partner causes harm or threatens the risk of harm to an individual with whom they are in a trusted relationship. Domestic violence may be physical, sexual, financial, verbal or emotional in nature. While abuse often occurs as a pattern of controlling behavior, a single episode of abuse is cause for concern.

Domestic Violence Prevention Resources

Everyone deserves a healthy relationship. If you would like to talk to someone about a complicated relationship, contact our Adult Services Program at 614-722-8293 (8 a.m. – 8 p.m. M-F).

If you are in need of emergency shelter due to domestic abuse, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-SAFE (7233). The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a free, confidential, 24/7 crisis line. You can call, chat, or text “START” to 88788. Interpretive services are available as needed. 

1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

Identifying Healthy Relationships

Everyone deserves a healthy relationship. Each relationship is different, so it can be hard to tell when the line from healthy to unhealthy is crossed. 

In a healthy relationship, both partners work together to establish a foundation of trust, honesty and good communication. This foundation allows both partners to feel supported in the relationship and the freedom to voice any concerns.

A healthy relationship has:

  • Trust: Partners believe what the other has said without the need for anyone to “prove” themselves.
  • Honesty: Partners are open, sincere and truthful with each other.
  • Good Communication: Partners are able to talk openly about problems, while listening to each other. They also respect each other’s opinions, especially when they differ.
  • Respect: Partners value each other for who they are, and do not try to change the other person. They also honor their partner’s emotional, physical, spiritual and digital boundaries.
  • Equality: Partners make decisions together and each is held to the same standards in the relationship.
  • Personal Time: Partners are able to spend time together, alone, or with others. There is a mutual understanding that everyone needs time for themselves.
  • Self-Care: Partners take the time to care for their own needs, which helps them respond to their partner in a healthy and positive manner.

An abusive partner uses a pattern of behaviors to gain and maintain power and control. This control gives the abuser special privileges while taking away your choices, equality, and independence. 

Abusive behaviors are intended to:

  • Make you feel like you’re not in control of your life
  • Cause you to do things you DON’T want to do
  • Make you feel afraid or feel worthless
  • Keep you from doing things you DO want to do


Relationship abuse occurs in all types of relationships and can sometimes be difficult to recognize. Abuse may be physical, sexual, financial, verbal or emotional. Some behaviors listed below may seem typical of any relationship. An abusive partner uses a pattern of behaviors to gain and maintain power and control. This control gives the abuser special privileges while taking away your choices, equality, and independence. 

Coercive control is when your partner:

  • Denies you respect and autonomy
  • Makes demands with the possibility of negative consequences if you don’t comply
  • Leaves you options to comply with demands to avoid consequences, or to resist demands and risk punishment
  • May or may not reward you for your compliance Isolates you from friends and family
  • Controls your daily activities, monitors your communications Follows you or uses technology to track where you go

Verbal abuse is when your partner:

  • Calls you hurtful names
  • Mocks you
  • Degrades your accomplishments
  • Blames you
  • Is always angry or dissatisfied with you

Psychological abuse is when your partner: 

  • Doesn’t appreciate your contributions to the family
  • Doesn’t allow you to disagree, have faults or make mistakes
  • Abuses pets
  • Is extremely jealous or accuses you of cheating
  • Purposefully embarrasses you in public
  • Plays mind games
  • Tells you his/her behavior is your fault
  • Threatens self-harm if you want to leave

Resource abuse is when your partner:

  • Takes or breaks phone or computer
  • Controls money and bank accounts
  • Spends your money without contributing
  • Destroys your things to punish you
  • Takes or disables the car
  • Sabotages your work or school
  • Sabotages your finances

Sexual or reproductive abuse is when your partner:

  • Has made you afraid to say no to sex
  • Pesters you for sex
  • Forces you to have sex with others
  • Sabotages your birth control methods
  • Coerces you to become pregnant or have an abortion
  • Insists on unwanted and/or uncomfortable touching
  • Makes you have sex when you don’t want to
  • Calls you a whore or a slut
  • Forces you to view pornographic materials

Physical abuse is when your partner:

  • Pinches you, pulls your hair, spits on you, bites you
  • Pushes, shoves, hits, kicks you
  • Scares you by driving dangerously
  • Doesn’t help you when you’re sick or injured
  • Chokes you
  • Throws objects at you
  • Uses or threatens to use a knife or gun to harm you

Recognizing the Signs

Signs that someone may be a victim of abuse:

  • Isolates themself from friends or family
  • Looks or acts differently than before, has gained or lost weight
  • Has injuries that cannot be explained or details do not make sense
  • Appears afraid or voices fear of his or her partner
  • Has given up things that were important
  • Worries about pleasing one’s partner
  • Apologizes or gives excuses for partner’s behavior

Get Help

If you or someone you know is being abused, call any of the numbers listed below. Remember, you are not alone.

In case of an emergency, call 911.

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