Domestic violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to or succeeds at physically or psychologically dominating another. Domestic violence often refers to violence between spouses, or spousal abuse but can also include cohabitants and non-married intimate partners. According to the National Center Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. In addition, almost one-third of all female homicides that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.
Domestic violence occurs in all cultures; people of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexes and classes can be perpetrators or victims of domestic violence. 85% of all domestic violence victims are women; as men are also victims of domestic violence. It has many forms, including physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation, and threats of violence. Although emotional and psychological abuse is not classified as criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence. The illustration below highlights methods of power and control that abusers use.