Tom Green County

Sheriff's Office, Crisis Intervention Unit

3005 North Chadbourne, San Angelo, Texas

(Next Door to the North Branch Library)

(325) 658-3921


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Learn the 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 coercion.

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:

*physical assault

*sexual assault

*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 bankbook; and

*harassment such as constant phone calls to your work or home or repeated visits to your home or workplace

State & National Statistics

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 lifetime.

*1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

*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.

The Texas Statutes



"WHY" implies Blame

"Why doesn't the victim 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 batterer is responsible for stopping the violence.

Leaving is the most dangerous time.

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.


Hotline: 655-5774



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!




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 personnel.

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 life-threatening attack.

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 dangerous.

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.

3. Weapons.
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 life-threatening.

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 relationship.

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.

7. Depression.
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 life-threatening conduct.

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 significantly.

11. Hostage-taking.
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 situations.

Barbara Hart




"WHY" a victim finds it hard to leave

What A 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)

Economic Hardship
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 Women, 1990)

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,)

Web Address: Send mail to C.I.U. Coordinator
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Copyright 2003-2017 Tom Green County Crisis Intervention Unit, San Angelo, Texas
Last modified: December 17, 2017