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This list identifies a series of behaviors typically demonstrated
by batterers and abusive people. All of these forms of abuse
- psychological, economic, and physical - come from the
batterer’s desire for power and control. The list can help
you recognize if you or someone you know is in a violent
Check off those behaviors that apply to the relationship.
The more checks on the page, the more dangerous the situation
Emotional and Economic Attacks:
- Destructive Criticism/Verbal Attacks:
Name-calling, mocking, accusing, blaming, yelling, swearing,
making humiliating remarks or gestures
- Pressure Tactics: Rushing you
to make decisions through “guilt-tripping” and other forms
of intimidation, sulking, threatening to withhold money,
manipulating the children, telling you what to do
- Abusing Authority: Always claiming
to be right (insisting statements are “the truth”), bossing
you around, making big decisions, using “logic”
- Disrespect: Interrupting, changing
topics, not listening or responding, twisting your words,
putting you down in front of other people, saying bad
things about your friends and family
- Abusing Trust: Lying, withholding
information, cheating on you, being overly jealous
- Breaking Promises: Not following
through on agreements, not taking a fair share of responsibility,
refusing to help with child care or housework
- Emotional Withholding: Not expressing
feelings, not giving support, attention, or compliments,
not respecting feelings, rights, or opinions
- Minimizing, Denying & Blaming:
Making light of behavior and not taking your concerns
about it seriously, saying the abuse didn’t happen, shifting
responsibility for abusive behavior, saying you caused
- Economic Control: Interfering
with your work or not letting you work, refusing to give
you or taking your money, taking your car keys or otherwise
preventing you from using the car, threatening to report
you to welfare or other social service agencies
- Self-Destructive Behavior: Abusing
drugs or alcohol, threatening suicide or other forms of
self-harm, deliberately saying or doing things that will
have negative consequences (e.g., telling off the boss)
- Isolation: Preventing or making
it difficult for you to see friends or relatives, monitoring
phone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go
- Harassment: Making uninvited
visits or calls, following you, checking up on you, embarrassing
you in public, refusing to leave when asked
Acts of Violence:
- Intimidation: Making angry or
threatening gestures, use of physical size to intimidate,
standing in doorway during arguments, out shouting you,
- Destruction: Destroying your
possessions (e.g., furniture), punching walls, throwing
and/or breaking things
- Threats: Making and/or carrying
out threats to hurt you or others
- Sexual Violence: Degrading treatment
or discrimination based on your sex or sexual orientation,
using force, threats or coercion to obtain sex or perform
- Physical Violence: Being violent
to you, your children, household pets or others, slapping,
punching, grabbing, kicking, choking, pushing, biting,
burning, stabbing, shooting, etc.
- Weapons: Use of weapons, keeping
weapons around which frighten you, threatening or attempting
to kill you or those you love
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wheel helps link the different behaviors that together
form a pattern of violence. It shows the relationship
as a whole - and how each seemingly unrelated behavior
is an important part in an overall effort to control someone.
of Domestic Violence
is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship
through violence and a series of behaviors, including
intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, isolation,
etc., to coerce and to control the other person. The violence
may not happen often, but it remains as a hidden (and
constant) terrorizing factor (Common Purpose, Inc., Jamaica
The following components of the cycle of violence may be
experienced by someone in an abusive relationship.
criticism, yelling, swearing, using angry gestures, coercion,
physical and sexual attacks and threats
apologies, blaming, promises to change, gifts
LOVE / HOPE / FEAR
These three dynamics keep the cycle in motion and make it
hard to end a violent relationship.
Love for your partner, the relationship
has its good points, it’s not all bad.
Hope that it will change, the relationship
didn’t begin like this.
Fear that the threats to kill you or your
family will become a reality.
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Non-Violence Wheel offers a view of a relationship that
is based on equality and non violence. Use this chart to
compare all of the characteristics
of a non-violent relationship to those of an abusive relationship.
The Non-Violence Wheel is also helpful in setting goals
and boundaries in personal relationships.
Suggestions for Helping
Do you know someone in a violent relationship? Do you suspect
that a friend, relative, or someone you know is being abused?
If so, don't be afraid to offer help - you just might save
someone's life. Here are some basic steps you can take to
assist someone who may be a target of domestic violence:
Approach your friend in an understanding
non-blaming way. Tell her/him that s/he is not alone, that
there are people like her/him in the same kind of situation,
and that it takes strength to survive and trust someone
enough to talk about the abuse.
Acknowledge that it is scary and difficult
to talk about domestic violence. Tell this person that s/he
doesn't deserve to be threatened, hit, or beaten. Nothing
a person can do or say makes the abuser's violence OK.
Share information. Show your friend the
Warning List, Violence and Non-Violence Wheels. Discuss
the dynamics of violence and how abuse is based on power
Support this person as a friend. Be a
good listener. Encourage the person to express her/his hurt
and anger. Allow the person to make her/his own decision,
even if it means not being ready to leave the abusive relationship.
Ask if your friend has suffered physical
harm. Go with her/him to the hospital to check for injuries.
Help report the assault to the police, if s/he chooses to
Provide information on help available
to battered women, men, and their children, including social
services, emergency shelter, counseling services, and legal
advice. To find this information, start with the resources
listed in this handbook and local listings in the Yellow
Pages under Social and Human Services.
Inform your friend about legal protection
that is available in most states under abuse prevention
laws. Go with her/him to district, probate, or superior
court to get a protective order to prevent further harassment
by the abuser. If you can't go, find someone who can.
Plan safe strategies for leaving an abusive
relationship. These are often called “Safety Plans.” Never
encourage someone to follow a safety plan that the person
believes will put her/him at further risk. And remember
that your friend may not feel comfortable taking these materials
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Suggestions for increasing safety - In the relationship
- I will have important phone numbers
available to my children and myself.
- I can tell ___________________ and ___________________
about the violence and ask them to call the police if
they hear suspicious noises coming from my home.
- If I leave my home, I can go (list four
places): ___________________, _____________________________,
__________________________, or _____________________________.
- I can leave extra money, car keys, clothes,
and copies of documents with _________________________.
- If I leave, I will bring _________________________________________________.
- To ensure safety and independence, I
can: keep change for phone calls with me at all times,
open my own savings account, rehearse my escape route
with a support person, and review my safety plan on ___________________
Suggestions for increasing safety
- When the relationship is over
- I can: change the locks; install steel/metal
doors, a security system, smoke detectors and an outside
- I will inform _________________ and
___________________ that my partner no longer lives with
me and ask them to call the police if s/he is observed
near my home or my children.
- I will tell people who take care of
my children the names of those who have permission to
pick them up. The people who have permission are __________________________,
___________________________ and _____________________________.
- I can tell ___________________ at work
about my situation and ask ______________ to screen my
- I can avoid stores, banks, and __________________________
that I used when living with my battering partner.
- I can obtain a protective order from
_________________________. I can keep it on or near me
at all times as well as leave a copy with _____________________________.
- If I feel down and ready to return to
a potentially abusive situation, I can call _____________________
for support or attend workshops and support groups to
gain support and strengthen my relationships with other
- If I have animals I can leave them with
___________ or _____________.
Important Phone Numbers
Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE ext. 7233
Items to Take Checklist - FOR
PRINTABLE VERSION CLICK HERE
- Birth certificates for me and my children
- Social Security cards
- School and medical records
- Money, bankbooks, credit cards
- Keys - house/car/office
- Driver's license and registration
- Change of clothes
- Welfare identification
- Passport(s), Green Card(s), work permits
- Divorce papers
- Lease/rental agreement, house deed
- Mortgage payment book, current unpaid bills
- Insurance papers
- Address book
- Pictures, jewelry, items of sentimental value
- Children's favorite toys and/or blankets
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