Violence happens between intimate partners and in families.It can start with shouting and cursing (verbal abuse) and can escalate to pushing, hitting and even death. Violence escalates unless steps are taken to change things.Often the abuser will say he or she is sorry, and you want to believe that the abuse won’t happen again. But no matter what you do or don’t do, the abuse continues. You are afraid of your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your adult son or daughter. Any children of the relationship could also be wounded emotionally by seeing violence between their parents or other family members. Help is available—whether or not you decide to leave. National and local domestic violence hotlines can refer you to shelters, counseling, legal assistance and support in your area.

Domestic violence is behavior driven by a need to control. This legally prohibits the batterer from coming within a certain distance of you.

It can range from threats, annoying telephone calls and stalking (such as following the victim to and from work, and threatening the victim), to unwanted sexual touching, hitting and destruction of the victim’s personal property. It also may grant you temporary custody of your children.

To obtain an EPO, there must be an “immediate and present danger” that you and/or your child will suffer domestic violence, or that your child will be abducted by the other parent.

You can file for a restraining order against your abuser free of charge.

And if you do move out, you may be able to keep your new address confidential on official documents, such as court papers and your driver’s license.

No intimate partner or family member has the right to abuse you verbally or physically.

The law defines domestic violence as abuse toward an intimate partner or family member.

This may include your current or former spouse or dating partner, a person you have lived with or a relative by blood, marriage or adoption.

It is a type of violence that cuts across all cultures, ethnic backgrounds, education levels, and income brackets.