Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support

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What is Domestic Violence?

Physical abuse is probably what most people think of when they think about domestic violence, but it is just one of the many ways that your partner might try to gain power and control in your relationship. You may be a domestic violence victim if your current or former intimate partner does a variety of things to control you. This may happen very slowly, over a period of time. Or, it can happen very quickly after some sort of change in the relationship, such as marriage, divorce, pregnancy, moving in together or breaking up. Like many people, you may wonder if what is happening to you is domestic violence because your partner has never hit you.

Ways your partner may try to gain power and control over you include:

Abuse is not always physical.

These are some of the most common ways that abusers try to control their partners, but certainly not the only ones. If your partner does things that restrict your personal freedom or that make you afraid, you may be a victim of domestic violence.

You may also be victimized by a former partner, since they may know about and have access to your finances, your daily routines, your children, your online activity and passwords. This knowledge may allow them to threaten, control or stalk you even after the relationship has ended.

You are not alone. Millions of people are abused by their partners every year. But it is important to know that more resources are available now than ever before to help victims and their children.


6The term “choking” is often mistakenly used to describe strangulation. Choking is the accidental obstruction of the flow of air into the lungs, usually by something lodged in a person’s throat or “windpipe” (e.g., food). In NYS, the crime of “strangulation” is the intentional act of obstructing anoth- er person’s breathing or blood circulation by blocking their nose or mouth or by applying pressure on their neck or throat (using hands, scarf, belts, or any other objects, on the outside of the neck).