Domestic Violence is a pattern of coercive behavior characterized by the domination and control of one person over another person, usually and intimate partner, through physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, sexual, and or economic abuse.
Facts About Domestic Violence
- 1 OUT EVERY 4 American women report that they have been physically abused by a husband or boyfriend.
- Every 15 seconds a woman is battered in the United States by her boyfriend, husband, or live in partner.
- Women are 85 – 95% of the victims of intimate violence.
- At least 25% of domestic violence victims are pregnant when beaten.
- At least 3.3 Million children between the ages of 13 and 19 are at risk of exposure to parental violence each year.
- Between 50 – 70% of men who abuse their female partners also abuse their children.
- One third of high school and college students experience violence in an intimate relationship during their dating years.
Myths About Domestic Violence
Myth 1 - Domestic Violence does not affect many people.
It is believed that domestic violence is the most common, but least reported, crime in the United States.
Myth 2 - Domestic Violence is only physical abuse.
Physical violence is only a part of a larger pattern of abuse. This may also include
Sometimes there is no physical abuse, but the abuser will use other ways to exert power and control over an intimate partner
Myth 3 - Domestic abuse is only a momentary loss of temper.
It is just the opposite. The abuser makes a decision to abuse. It is an ongoing behavior to enforce control through fear.
Myth 4 - Domestic violence only happens in poor families.
Domestic violence happens throughout all levels of society, ethnic background and religious groups.
Myth 5 - Domestic violence is just an occasional slap or punch that is not serious.
Victims are seriously injured. Over 30% of the women seeking care in emergency rooms are victims of domestic violence.
Myth 6 - Drinking or drug abuse causes domestic violence.
Some abusers use it as an excuse for their violent behavior. One does not cause the other.
Myth 7 - If the abuser is truly sorry and promises to reform, the abuse will stop.
Remorse and begging for forgiveness are manipulative methods used by the abuser, as a means of control. Abusers rarely stop.
Myth 8 - The victim can always walk away from the relationship.
Victims believe that do not have a safe place to go. Victims do not believe they have the financial ability to go.
Myth 9 - If the violent episodes do not happen that often, the situation is not that serious.
Even if it only happens once and a while the threat remains. Each episode is a reminder of the previous episodes.
Myth 10 - Victims have the types of personalities that seek out and encourage abuse.
There are no determined personality traits that describe a victim. It is the abuser that is responsible for the abuse.
Who are the victims?
- Statistically, most victims are women.
- Children can be direct or indirect victims.
- They may be abused
- They may be forced to see a parent abused.
- The abuser may threaten them as a means of control
- Teenagers experience dating violence.
- Can occur in gay and lesbian relationships.
- Elderly and people with disabilities.
Who are the abusers?
- Abusers typically
- Deny the abuse has occurred or make light of the violence.
- Blame the victim, or other people outside the event
- Abusers do not act because they are out of control.
- Abusers choose to respond to a situation with violence.
- They are not acting out of pure anger.
- They are not reacting to stress.
- Abuse is a learned behavior.
How to help a friend, who is a victim
Safety measures while in the relationship
- Bring up the subject
- Don’t be afraid to let your friend know your concerns.
- Say that you can see what is happening.
- Let your friend know that they are in a difficult and scary situation.
- Let them know that it is not their fault
- Encourage your friend to express their feeling of hurt and anger.
- Remind your friend that the abuser is 100% responsible.
- It may be difficult for your friend to talk about the situation.
- Don’t buy into your friends denials.
- If your friend denies that it is a dangerous situation. Let them know that you believe that it is serious and dangerous.
- Provide your friend with reading material about domestic violence.
- Go with your friend to when they receive medical treatment, to the police, to court, or to see a lawyer.
- Help your friend develop a safe plan.
- Make sure that the plan puts safety first.
- If you are a victim, let people that care about you know.
- Confide in someone you trust.
- Do not let friends talk you into something that does not feel right. Make your own decisions.
- Leave an emergency kit with a friend.
- Ask a friend to go with you to important appointments.
- Make sure friends know your safety plan.
Examples of important papers
- Have important phone numbers memorized.
- If children are older discuss the plan with them.
- If children are younger teach them to dial 911
- Keep a pre-paid phone card or a charged cell with you at all times.
- If you can, open your own bank account.
- Stay in touch with friends; get to know your neighbors. Resist the temptation to cut yourself off from people.
- Rehearse your escape plan until you know it by heart.
- Leave a set a car keys, extra money, an change of clothes and copies of important documents in a safe place or with a trusted friend.
Safety measures after the relationship.
- Your and your children's birth certificate.
- Your social security card.
- Your children’s school and medical records.
- Bank Book
- Welfare ID
- Lease agreement or mortgage
- Insurance papers
- Extra prescription medication
- Evidence of abuse (photos, journals, police reports)
- If you’re still in the home, change the locks.
- Install as many security devices as you can afford.
- Metal exterior doors, gates, security alarm, motion lights, motion detectors, smoke alarms.
- Inform neighbors of your former partner. He is not welcome on the property.
- Mace sure daycare providers are aware of the situation. Let them know who is and is not to have contact.
- Obtain a protective order. Keep a copy with you at all times. Give friends an neighbors a copy.
- Let co-workers know
- Avoid places the abuser goes.
- Get counseling.
Peace and Protective Orders
- Peace and protective orders are civil orders issued by a judge to prevent one person from committing certain acts against others. The personal relationship between the “respondent” (person alleged to commit the prohibited act) and the victim (person to be protected) determines which kind of petition would be filed. Protective orders generally apply to people in domestic relationships. Peace orders apply to other relationships (dating, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances, and strangers). You cannot qualify for both; you must choose the one for which you would qualify.
- If you are filing the petition for yourself, do any of these apply to you?
- I am the current or former spouse of the respondent
- I have lived in an intimate relationship with the respondent for at least 90 days during the past year
- I am related to the respondent by blood, marriage, or adoption
- I am the parent, stepparent, child, or stepchild of the respondent, and I have resided with the respondent for 90 days during the past year
- I have a child with the respondent If you are filing the petition for a child or an adult who cannot provide for his or her own daily needs (a vulnerable adult), do either of these apply to you?
- I am related to the minor child or vulnerable adult by blood, marriage or adoption
- I reside in the same house with the minor child or vulnerable adult If you checked any boxes above, you would file for a protective order.
- If they did not apply to you, you would file for a peace order.
- Once you determine the type of order for which you may qualify, you then must prove that one of the following acts occurred. Acts marked with an asterisk (*) are covered only by peace orders and not by protective orders.
- An act that caused serious bodily harm
- An act that placed the petitioner in fear of imminent bodily harm
- Assault in any degree
- Rape or sexual offense
- Attempted rape or sexual offense
- False imprisonment
- Criminal stalking
- Criminal harassment *
- Criminal trespassing *
- Malicious destruction of property *
How to apply for an order
Step 1: Complete the correct petition. To print a copy of the form click here.
Step 2: File the petition
Step 3: Appear for a temporary hearing
Step 4: Appear for a final hearing
Step 5: Sheriffs Office serves the respondent
Md. Network Against Domestic Violence
1-800 MD Helps
House of Ruth Legal Clinic
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Robert F. Sweeney District Court Building
251 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401
FAX (410) 260-1349