Hidden Crime: Domestic Violence
One out of every four women in this country will suffer some kind
of violence at the hands of her husband or boyfriend.
Very few will tell anyone--not a friend, a relative, a neighbor,
or the police.
Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life--all cultures,
all income groups, all ages, all religions. They share feelings
of helplessness, isolation, guilt, fear, and shame.
All hope it won't happen again, but often it does.
Are You Abused? Does the Person You Love...
You Are Hurt, What Can You Do?
There are no easy answers, but there are things you can do to protect
- Call the police or sheriff. Assault, even by family members,
is a crime. The police often have information about shelters and
other agencies that help victims of domestic violence.
- Leave, or have someone come and stay with you. Go to a battered
women's shelter--call a crisis hotline in your community or a
health center to locate a shelter. If you believe that you and
your children are in danger, leave immediately.
- Get medical attention from your doctor or a hospital emergency
room. Ask the staff to photograph your injuries and keep detailed
records in case you decide to take legal action.
- Contact your family court for information about a civil protection
order that does not involve criminal charges or penalties.
Don't Ignore The Problem
- Talk to someone. Part of the abuser's power comes from secrecy.
Victims are often ashamed to let anyone know about intimate family
problems. Go to a friend or neighbor, or call a domestic violence
hotline to talk to a counselor.
- Plan ahead and know what you will do if you are attacked again.
If you decide to leave, choose a place to go; set aside some money.
Put important papers together--marriage license, birth certificates,
check books--in a place where you can get them quickly.
- Learn to think independently. Try to plan for the future and
set goals for yourself.
Have You Hurt Someone In Your Family?
- Accept the fact that you violent behavior will destroy you
family. Be aware that you break the law when you physically hurt
- Take responsibility for you actions and get help.
- When you feel tension building, get away. Work off the angry
energy through a walk, a project, or a sport.
- Call a domestic violence hotline or health center and ask about
counseling and support groups for people who batter.
The High Costs of Domestic Violence
- Men and women who follow their parents' example and use violence
to solve conflicts are teaching the same destructive behavior
to their children.
- Jobs can be lost or careers stalled because of injuries, arrests,
- Lives are lost when violence results in death.
Take a Stand!
- Reach out to someone you believe is a victim of family violence,
or to someone you think is being abusive. Don't give up easily--change
takes time. Ending the family's isolation is a critical first
- Urge organizations and businesses to raise community awareness
by hosting speakers on domestic violence, launching public education
campaigns, and raising funds for shelters and hotlines.
- Ask the local newspaper, radio station, or television station
to examine the problem and publicize resources in the community
through special features and forums.
- Most communities offer resources for victims of family violence.
Check your telephone directory or ask a law enforcement agency.
Return to Crime Prevention Tips
Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council