Violence Intervention Project

About Domestic Violence

  • Physical and sexual assaults, or threats to commit them, are the most apparent forms of domestic violence and are usually the actions that allow others to become aware of the problem. However, regular use of other abusive behaviors by the batterer when reinforced by one or more acts of physical violence, make up a larger system of abuse. Although physical assaults may occur only once or occasionally, they instill threat of future violent attacks and allow the abuser to take control of the woman's life and circumstances.
  • The Power & Control diagram is a particularly helpful tool in understanding the overall pattern of abusive and violent behaviors, which are used by a batterer to establish and maintain control over his partner. Very often, one or more violent incidents are accompanied by an array of these other types of abuse. They are less easily identified, yet firmly establish a pattern of intimidation and control in the relationship.
Safety Plan
  • Make a Safety Plan
  • Arrange a signal to alert a neighbor or your children to call the police. Devise a code word. Prepare an emergency bag that includes
  • Extra set of clothes for self and children, & any medicine
  • Address book-with numbers for attorneys, doctors, friends, etc.
  • Money-plus change for pay phone
  • Extra keys to house and car
  • Important papers - include all yoiur bank account numbers, copy of lease, title to car, copy of restraining orders, birth certificates, Social Security #'s for everyone in family, medical cards, driver's license or other forms of ID
  • Know exactly where you could go and how to get there, even if you have to leave in the middle of the night.
  • Call VIP to find out about legal options, shelter, and other resources available to you
  • Avoid long distance calls if possible (they can be traced). Be aware of caller ID.
  • Advise the school, courts, or welfare office not to give out any information.
  • Trust your instincts. Remember - You don't deserve to be hit or threatened!
Power and Control Diagram
  • Is your relationship based on equality?


    Seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict

    • Accepting change
    • Being willing to compromise

    Talking and acting so that she feels safe and comfortable expressing herself and doing things.


    Listening to her non-judgmentally

    • Being emotionally affirming and understanding
    • Valuing her opinions

    Making money decisions together

    • Making sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements

      Mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work

    • Making family decisions together

    Supporting her goals in life

    • Respecting her right to her own feelings, friends, activities, and opinions.

    Sharing parental responsibilities

    • Being a positive nonviolent role model for the children

    Accepting responsibility for self

    • Acknowledging past use of violence
    • Admitting being wrong
    • Communicating openly and truthfully

    Or, is your relationship based on power and control?


    Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her

    • Threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, or to report her to welfare
    • Making her drop charges
    • Making her do illegal things.

    Making her afraid by using looks, actions, and gestures

    • Smashing things
    • Destroying her property
    • Abusing pets
    • Displaying weapons

    Treating her like a servant

    • Making all the big decisions
    • Acting like the 'master of the castle'
    • Being the one to define men's and women's roles.

    Putting her down

    • Making her feel bad about herself
    • Calling her names
    • Making her think she's crazy
    • Playing mind games
    • Humiliating her
    • Making her feel guilty

    Preventing her from getting or keeping a job

    • Making her ask for money
    • Giving her an allowance
    • Taking her money
    • Not letting her know about or have access to family income
    • Controlling what she does, whom she sees and talks to, what she reads, and where she goes
    • Limiting her outside involvement
    • Using jealousy to justify actions

    Making her feel guilty about the children

    • Using the children to relay messages
    • Using visitation to harass her
    • Threatening to take the children away

    Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously

    • Saying the abuse didn't happen
    • Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior
    • Saying she caused it
Elder Abuse
  • Domestic Mistreatment of the Elderly
  • Domestic mistreatment of the elderly is a phenomenon with identifiable causes and consequences. If we are to prevent such mistreatment, we must be aware of its basic ingredients.
  • Relationships
  • A wide variety of people are directly involved in domestic mistreatment of the elderly, and their living situations are often similar. There is usually a level of dependency between an elder and one or more younger adults; the victim and perpetrator(s) generally live together, at times in the elder’s own home.
  • Abusers can also include neighbors or landlords of elderly who live alone or relatives who exploit the victim’s resources without having a truly dependent relationship with the victim.
  • Victimization by Gender
  • There is no clear evidence at this time that one sex is more vulnerable to victimization than the other, but there is speculation that elderly men are at greater risk of mistreatment than elderly women. In terms of reported victims, older women are more often cited simply because their numbers are so much greater.
  • Self-abuse
  • Self-abuse is typically the negligent and potentially life-threatening actions of a mentally deteriorating older person who lives alone and is unable to care for himself or herself adequately but who resists outside help. On occasion, the person fails to conform to community standards of conduct, hygiene, or maintenance of home or property.
  • Spouse Abuse
  • A couple may have a long history of spouse abuse that has been extended into old age. Spouse abuse crosses all racial, age group and economic boundaries. Husbands or wives who have been abusive through long marriages are not likely to change their behavior at age 60 or 65. Spouse abuse may begin later in life.
  • The presence or absence of motivation to cause harm to an elderly person is a principal consideration that distinguishes some forms of mistreatment from others. Other factors are “active” vs. “passive,” and duration.
  • Categories of Mistreatment
  • Passive Neglect
  • The unintentional failure to fulfill a care taking obligation; there is no conscious or willful attempt to inflict physical or emotional distress on the older persons.
  • Examples: Non-provision of food or health-related services because of the caregiver’s infirmity, laziness, or inadequate skills, knowledge or understanding of the necessity of prescribed or other essential services.
  • Psychological Abuse
  • The infliction of mental anguish.
  • Examples: Demeaning, name-calling, treating as a child, insulting, ignoring, frightening, humiliating, isolating, intimidating, threatening.
  • Material (Financial) Abuse
  • The illegal, or unethical exploitation and/or use of funds, property, or other assets belonging to the older person.
  • Active Neglect
  • The intentional failure to fulfill a care-taking obligation, including conscious and willful attempt to inflict physical or emotional stress or injury on the older person.
  • Examples: Deliberate abandonment, deliberate denial of food or health-related services, depriving of dentures or eyeglasses.
  • Physical Abuse
  • The infliction of physical pain or injury, or physical coercion (confinement against one’s will).
  • Examples: Slapping, bruising, sexually molesting, cutting, lacerating, burning, physically restraining, pushing, shoving.
  • Note: It is unlikely that a single factor is responsible for mistreatment. Different types are probably caused by different combinations of personal traits of the people involved, finances, interpersonal relationships, etc.
  • From Domestic Mistreatment of the Elderly: Towards Prevention, Criminal Justice Services for AARP, 1987