Learn With Us

Parents & Educators

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is a pattern of controlling behaviors that may include physical assaults, sexual assaults, emotional abuse, isolation, threats, stalking, manipulation, and/or intimidation. These behaviors are used by one person in an intimate relationship to control the other. The partners may be married, engaged, separated, or dating; heterosexual or gay; living together or not.

Abuse can happen to anyone regardless of someone’s religion (or lack of), gender identity or expression, age, race or nationality, cultural background, class, ability, and/or education.

1 in 3


One in three adolescents in the U.S. will experience teen dating violence before they graduate from high school. 

1 in 5


One in five teens knows someone who has experienced teen dating violence.

Examples of Abusive Behavior

  • Ridicules opinions/beliefs
  • Belittles or puts down
  • Continually criticizes or calls names
  • Humiliates in public or private
  • Threatens harms or suicide if relationship ends
  • Lies/contradicts, plays mind games
  • Withholds access/information about family finances
  • Destroys property or threatens to kill pets
  • Pushes, kicks, bites
  • Hits, slaps, punches
  • Throws objects or destroys property
  • Locks partner out of home
  • Refuses to help when partner is ill or injured
  • Uses weapons against partner
  • Abandons partner in dangerous situations
  • Threatens physical abuse
  • Forces unwanted sexual acts on partner
  • Accuses partner of cheating
  • Insists partner dress in a sexual manner
  • Constantly criticizes partner sexually
  • Endangers partner’s sexual health with unprotected sex
  • Sabotaging forms of birth control
  • Reproductive coercion, including forcing partner to have unwanted children
  • Infecting partner with a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Quotes scripture to justify abusive, dominating, or other oppressive behaviors
  • Forces partner to violate religious beliefs
  • Prevents partner from attending church
  • Constantly checking texts, emails, and/or social media accounts without permission
  • Sending or distributing sexual photos of partner
  • Using GPS or other electronic devices to track whereabouts
  • Recording telephone conversations

Teen Dating Violence

Teen Dating violence is a pattern of learned behaviors that one person uses to control another in an intimate relationship.

A victim/survivor will often experience multiple forms of violence. At the root of all abuse is one person’s need for power and control over the other.

Signs of Abuse

Victims of domestic violence are not likely to speak openly about their relationship, but may show subtle signs of having an abusive partner. Signs may include:

If you notice someone exhibiting these characteristics, don’t be afraid to privately ask if the person feels safe at home. If the person tells you they do not, refer them to supportive resources, such as Safe Haven, for help.

Youth Violence Prevention

We value the health and well-being of young people and believe in empowering them to be leaders in their communities. Youth violence is a serious public health issue that has long-term impacts on health and well-being. We know that youth violence is connected to other forms of violence, including teen dating violence and bullying. We believe that by working with youth, schools, parents, and other community members, we can prevent youth violence.