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What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is defined as abuse committed against members of the same family, a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, a person with whom the offender has had a child, or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship regardless of sexual orientation or between children and elderly parents.

Domestic violence may begin with angry words, a shove, or a slap, and may escalate into a pattern of assaultive controlling behaviors including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks against the victim, children, property, and/or pets.

Criminal domestic violence behaviors include hitting, choking, kicking, assault with a weapon, shoving, scratching, biting, rape, unwanted sexual touching, forcing sex with a third party, or violation of a valid Restraining Order. Degrading comments, interrogating family members, suicide threats/attempts, controlling victim’s time and activities, although not criminal, are also considered domestic violence behaviors.

Domestic violence is not an isolated, individual event. One battering episode builds on past episodes and sets the stage for future episodes. All incidents of the pattern interact with each other and have a profound effect on the victim. There is a wide range of consequences, some physically injurious and some not, but all are psychologically damaging.

Some acts of domestic violence even include sexual assault. A sexual assault may be by a stranger or a person known to the victim, including a husband, boyfriend, ex-husband, or ex-boyfriend. Sexual assault is a crime. Victims should notify the police immediately. A police officer will respond to conduct an investigation and collect evidence. Victims should keep all clothing worn during the assault and other evidence such as bed sheets. Officers will transport victims to the hospital for a free medical exam. Victims should not shower or douche before the exam.

Research has shown that this pattern of control and abuse increases in frequency and severity over time. It is estimated that one-fourth of all homicides in this country occurs within the family and one-half of these are husband-wife killings. Studies have shown that arrest, jail, probation, and Restraining Orders deter many abusers from physically abusing their partners.

If you become a victim of annoying phone calls, you should report them to the Los Angeles Police Department. Your phone company may be able to assist in tracking the origin of the calls if they have a police report number. If you become a victim of threatening phone calls, report them to your local police department immediately. The Los Angeles Police Department takes threatening calls serious, and so should you, especially if you are in a battering relationship or have been a victim of domestic violence.

You are not alone and many different kinds of help are available to you in your community. The Los Angeles Police Department is concerned about your safety!

Did you know…….

  • A woman is beaten every 15 seconds.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the United States.
  • Battered women are more likely to suffer miscarriages and to give birth to babies with low birth weights.
  • Sixty-three percent of the young men between the ages of 11 and 20 who are serving time for homicide have killed their mother’s abuser.