|Family Violence Advocacy Info|
What is a Crisis?
Crime Victim Rights Act
Dynamics & Mechanics of domestic violence!
It'll make a difference in your service to Crime Victims!
It is important to understand that domestic violence is not only about
gender, hitting and hurting it is about power and control. It is a
crime where one person uses power to control an intimate partner or
family member. This power may include physical and sexual violence or
it may not. Power can be exerted and control gained in a number of
ways i.e. economically, by restricting a persons ability to have
contact with others, by mental and emotional degradation and
harassment as well as by the use of intimidation, threats and
Domestic Violence (or family violence) is the abuse of power or
control . It is behavior used by one person to control another through
force or threats. A batterer makes a choice to strike, hit, kick,
punch or threaten the victim.
Domestic violence includes physical and sexual attacks and threats.
These violent acts are criminal and the batterer can be prosecuted for
committing them. The acts are a means of controlling the victim's
thoughts, feelings and behavior. The violence does not lessen over
time. The threats and/or beatings generally happen more often with
time, last longer and cause greater physical injuries.
Family and Domestic Violence includes:
*damage to a person's property
*threats to damage property
*verbal abuse and put downs
*forced isolation from family and/or friends
*financial abuse - withholding or controlling against your will access
to money, food, clothes and personal items such as car keys or
*harassment such as constant phone calls to your work or home or
repeated visits to your home or workplace
Of the women killed in 1997 in Texas, 35% were murdered by their
intimate male partners. This is higher than the national average of
28% reported by the FBI.
- Texas Department of Public Safety
An estimated 824,790 women were physically abused in Texas in 1998.
- Texas Department of Human Services
*Family Violence costs the nation from $5 to $10 billion annually in
sick leave, absenteeism, non-productivity, medical expenses, police &
court costs, shelters and foster care.
*The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
reports that homicide, due to workplace violence, is the leading cause
of death for women in the workplace and the second leading cause of
death for men.
*28% of pregnant teens reported being physically abused by their
boyfriends. About half of them said the battering began or intensified
after he learned of her pregnancy.
*1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men will be sexually assaulted in their
*1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their
*63% of the young men between the ages of 11-20 serving prison time
for homicide, were convicted of killing their mother's abuser.
*Nationally, 50% of all homeless women and children are on the streets
because of violence in the home.
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"Why doesn't the victim leave?"
*VICTIMS DON'T LEAVE.
Victims do leave. About 20% of all Domestic Violence victims leave after
the very first incident. Victims leave between 6-7 times before the
"cycle violence" is broken.
*THE VICTIM IS RESPONSIBLE FOR STOPPING THE VIOLENCE BY LEAVING.
The batterer is responsible for stopping the violence.
*THE VICTIM WILL BE SAFER IF SHE/HE LEAVES.
Leaving is the most dangerous time.
*IT IS EASY TO LEAVE.
Breaking up is hard to do in any relationship. Plus, Domestic Violence
victims must gather enough resources for themselves and their children
to survive before leaving.
ICD FAMILY SHELTER
Five Things to
SAY to a Reluctant Victim
1. I am afraid for your safety
2. I am afraid for the safety of your children
3. It will only get worse
4. I am here for you when you are ready (to leave)
5. You don't deserve to be beat!
WHETHER BATTERERS WILL KILL
Some batterers are life-threatening. While it is true that all batterers
are dangerous, some are more likely to kill than others and some are
more likely to kill at specific times.
Staff should evaluate whether a participant is likely to kill his
partner or other family members, OR, even intervention program
Assessment is tricky and NEVER fool-proof. It is important to conduct an
assessment at intake and periodically throughout program participation.
Staff can utilize the indicators described below in making an assessment
of the batterer's potential to inflict aggravated violence. Considering
these factors may or may NOT reveal actual potential for homicidal
assault. But, the likelihood of a homicide is greater a majority of
these factors are present.
The greater the number of indicators that the batter demonstrates or the
greater the intensity of indicators, the greater the likelihood of a
1. Threats of homicide or suicide.
The batter who has threatened to kill himself, his partner, the
children, her relatives or family pets must be considered extremely
2. Fantasies of homicide or suicide.
The more the batter has developed a fantasy about how, who, when and /
or where to kill, the more dangerous he may be. The batter who has
previously acted out a part of a homicide or suicide fantasy may be
invested in killing as a viable "solution" to his problem. As in suicide
assessment, the more detailed the plan and the more available the
method, the greater the risk.
Where the batter possesses weapons and has used them or has threatened
to use them in the past is his assaults on the bettered woman, the
children or himself, his access to those weapons increases his potential
for lethal assault. The use of guns is a strong predictor of homicide.
If a batter has a history of arson or the threat of arson, fire should
be considered a weapon.
4. Ownership of the battered partner.
The batter who says "Death before Divorce!" or "You belong to me and
will never belong to another!" may be stating his fundamental belief
that the woman has no right to life separate from him. A batter who
believes he is absolutely entitled to his female partner, her services,
her obedience and her loyalty, no matter what, is likely to be
5. Centrality of the partner.
A man who idolizes his female partner, or who depends heavily on her to
organize and sustain his life, or who has isolated himself from all
other community, may retaliate against a partner who decides to end the
6. Separation Violence.
When a batter believes that he is about to lose or has permanently lost
his partner, if he cannot envision life without her or if the separation
causes him great despair or rage, he may choose to kill.
Where a batter has been acutely depressed and sees little hope for
moving beyond the depression, he may be a candidate for homicide or
suicide. Research shows that many men who are hospitalized for
depression have homicidal fantasies directed at family members.
8. Access to the battered woman and/or to family members.
If the Batter cannot find her, he cannot kill her. If he does not have
access to the children, he cannot use them as a means of access to the
battered woman. Careful safety planning and police assistance are
required for those times when contact is required, e.g. court
appearances and custody exchanges.
9. Repeated outreach to law enforcement.
Partner or spousal homicide almost always occurs in a context of
historical violence. Prior calls to the police indicate elevated risk of
10. Escalation of batterer risk.
A less obvious indicator of increasing danger may be the sharp
escalation of personal risk undertaken by a batterer; when a batterer
begins to act without regard to the legal or social consequences that
previously constrained his violence, chances of lethal assault increases
A hostage-taker is at high risk for inflicting homicide. Between 75% and
90% of all hostage taking in the US are related to domestic violence
"WHY" a victim
finds it hard to leave
Battered Woman Faces When She Leaves
(Texas Council on Family Violence)
Many people assume that once a battered woman takes the first step outside of
her home or relationship the hardship and abuse will end. Battered women face
many difficulties when they leave, including fear of injury or death, economic
hardship, fear of losing their children and poor criminal justice response.
Fear of Injury or Death
The highest risk for serious injury or death to a battered woman is when she is
leaving or when she has left her violent partner. (Barbara Hart, 1988)
Seventy-eight percent of stalking victims are women. Sixty percent of female
stalking victims are stalked by intimate partners. (Center for Policy Research,
Stalking in America, July 1997)
Seventy-four percent of employed battered women experience harassment at work by
their abusive partner, either in person or on the telephone. This harassment
often results in their being late to work, missing work altogether and possibly
losing their jobs. (Zorza, "Woman Battering: A Major Cause of Homelessness,"
Clearinghouse Review, 1991)
Up to 50 percent of all homeless women and children in this country are fleeing
domestic violence. (Elizabeth Schneider, Legal Reform Efforts for Battered
Fear of Losing Children
Of the domestic violence-related child abductions, most are perpetrated by
fathers or others acting on the fathers' behalf. Battering men use custodial
access to the children as a tool to terrorize battered women or to retaliate for
separation. (David Finkelhor, Gerald Hotaling & Andrea Sedlak, Protective
Services Quarterly, 1993)
Slightly more than half of female victims of intimate violence live in
households with children under age 12. (U. S. Department of Justice, Violence by
Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends
and Girlfriends, March 1998)
Poor Criminal Justice Response
Injuries that battered women received are at least as serious as injuries
suffered in 90 percent of violent felony crimes, yet under state laws, they are
almost always classified as misdemeanors. (Joan Zorza, The Gender Bias
Committee's Domestic Violence Study,)