Domestic Violence


Domestic violence is generally a coercive behavior that includes physical, sexual, economic, emotional, or psychological abuse of one family member or romantic partner by another. In most states, domestic violence includes assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or murder of one household member by another household member.

What Is Domestic Violence

Domestic violence generally occurs when a spouse or intimate partner uses physical violence, threats, emotional abuse, harassment, or stalking to control the behavior of his or her partner. Partners involved in domestic violence and abuse may be married, heterosexual, homosexual, living together, separated, or dating.

Physical violence can include:

  • Forcing a person to stay somewhere
  • Grabbing
  • Shoving
  • Touching a person against his or her will

Emotional abuse includes:

  • Insults
  • Intimidation
  • Keeping a partner from contacting family or friends
  • Name-calling
  • Stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
  • Threatening physical harm
  • Withholding money

Domestic violence can include physical violence causing injuries, a possibility of injury, threats, and protection order violations.

The links below will take you to a Power and Control Wheel diagram (in English and Spanish) that can serve as a domestic violence screening tool:

Who Can Be Arrested for Domestic Violence

The police may arrest any person (adult or juvenile) for domestic violence if they have probable cause to believe he or she committed a crime. People from all walks of life, including both men and women, are arrested for domestic violence. Domestic violence occurs in cities, suburbs and rural areas and among all social classes, races, religions, incomes and family backgrounds. If you are accused of domestic violence, it is crucial that you seek the services of an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.

Effects of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence creates havoc in a victim's and in an accused abuser's family and working lives. The effects of domestic violence are far reaching, including detrimental effects on children. 

Domestic violence causes:

  • Anxiety
  • Emotional pain
  • Fear
  • Financial burdens due to missed work, medical bills and psychological treatment
  • Misery
  • Physical pain
  • Shame

Who to Call for Help

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

If you would like to speak to someone about your situation, you can call the Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter hotline at 703-777-6552 (24 hours a day).

You can also call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 800-779-SAFE (7233); 800-787-3224 (TTY).