Family Violence

Family violence covers a broad range of acts that can include emotional, financial, physical, and sexual violence within and between family members. Not only does it harm the victim, but family violence presents dangers for immediate family members, including children. The most common forms of family violence are domestic violence, or intimate partner violence (IPV), and child abuse. 

Family violence can have a lasting negative effect on individual family members and the family unit. For children especially, exposure to violence at a young age can harm their emotional, psychological, and even physical development. Overall, children and young adults exposed to domestic violence are at risk of antisocial behavior and involvement in the criminal justice system as an adult.

Did You Know?

  • 1in 4 women and 1 in 9 men are victims of intimate partner violence. 
  • About 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse in the last year.
  • Rates of child abuse and neglect are 5 times higher for those in families with low socio-economic status compared to children in families with higher socio-economic status.

Types of Violence/Abuse:

  • Physical Violence/Abuse - the intentional use of physical force that can result in physical injury.
    • Pushing, kicking, slapping, shoving, strangulation, threatening with a weapon.
  • Emotional Violence/Abuse - behaviors that harm an individuals self-worth or emotional well-being. 
    • Ridicule, gaslighting, making threats, name calling, intimidation, control, shaming, withholding love, isolation from friends or family.
  • Sexual Violence/Abuse - pressuring, coercing, or forcing an individual to engage in sexual acts.
    • Non-consensual sexual acts, sexting (without consent for adults), sexual acts performed on an underage child, unwanted sexual touching. 
  • Neglect -  the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs.
    • Needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to healthcare.

Warning Signs of Child Abuse:

  • Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong.
  • Doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver.
  • Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.
  • Is always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen.
  • Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather.
  • Hygiene is consistently bad.
  • Is frequently late or missing from school.
  • Displays knowledge of sexual acts inappropriate for their age, or even seductive behavior.
  • Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities.
  • An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14.

Warning Signs of Domestic Violence:

  • Seems afraid or anxious to please their partner.
  • Goes along with everything their partner says and does.
  • Checks in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing.
  • Has frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”.
  • Being restricted from seeing family and friends.
  • Having limited access to money, credit cards, or the car.
  • Showing major personality changes.

Ways to Help Those Experiencing a Family Violence Situation:

  • Politely ask if something is wrong.
  • Express concern.
  • Listen and validate their feelings.
  • Offer your help and support their decisions.
  • Suggest that they seek help at trusted resources like One Safe Place (see below).
  • Submit an anonymous report to Friends for Life.
  • Above all, make sure you do NOT intervene in unsafe situations and always call local law enforcement if there is an immediate danger to you or someone you know.