Putting an End to Domestic Violence
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At the North Carolina Department of Justice, we work to keep people safe and promote healthy communities. Our communities are safer and more stable when people can make independent decisions that prioritize their happiness and well-being. For many people, having relationships with intimate partners or other loved ones is a key part of their happiness.
But domestic violence is a real, constant threat to people’s safety and well-being. One in four women will experience severe physical or sexual abuse at the hands of a partner in their lifetime, and that’s only some of the forms of abuse that people might experience. Domestic abuse can also include emotional, financial, or psychological abuse. The signs of abuse may not always be easy to recognize, but they are rooted in the abuser establishing power and control over another person.
Domestic violence destroys people’s health and well-being, and all too often, it results in people we love being killed. It affects people regardless of race, religion, age, gender, or sexual identity. Understanding how abusive relationships work and becoming an ally to your friends and loved ones can save lives. The North Carolina Department of Justice and Attorney General Josh Stein are committed to helping end domestic violence and keeping our communities safe.
If you or someone you love is in a relationship that is physically, emotionally, psychologically, or financially abusive, help is available so you can understand and navigate your situation.
If you are in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1 or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or at https://www.thehotline.org/.
You can also reach out to the following organizations:
- North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- North Carolina Victim Assistance Network
- A local domestic violence support or intervention program
- N.C. Council for Women & Youth Involvement
What Abuse Looks Like
Domestic abuse isn’t always physical, and we can’t always diagnose it by looking for the effects of violence on a person’s body. This Power and Control Wheel, from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (Duluth, MN), shares more about the different forms of power that an abuser may try to exert, and examples of what those tactics look like.
Here are what different types of abuse look like:
· Hitting, punching, or otherwise causing you physical pain or fear of injury
· Putting your life in danger through intentional or unintentional reckless behavior
· Preventing you from making decisions about your physical health, such as when you eat, sleep, seek medical care, or leave your home
· Damaging your belongings
· Forcing or pushing you to give them the money you make
· Monitoring your spending
· Not allowing you to access your financial accounts or have an overview of your savings
· Stealing money from you
· Withdrawing money from your accounts without your consent
· Controlling some or all ownership of your money, and not allowing you to spend it on your expenses
· Pushing you to share your passwords and logins with them
· Monitoring your social media behavior
· Looking through your phone, laptop, or other digital devices
· Tracking your location through GPS
· Tracking your actions and comings and goings through cameras or other monitoring and digital devices
· Sending you threatening or derogatory messages online or through social media platforms
· Forcing you to send sexually explicit photos or videos
· Sharing sexually explicit photos or videos of you without your consent
· Repeatedly harassing you online
· Belittling you, your body, your intelligence, or your abilities
· Intentionally manipulating your perception or memory of experiences
· Telling you you’re being overdramatic, sensitive, misinterpreting a joke, overreacting, upset for no reason, or to blame for a situation
· Calling you names or slurs, or using otherwise offensive language
· Using guilt or deception to control your decisions
· Insulting your worth and telling you that you will not find a better partner
· Forcing you to prioritize their needs and wants over your own
· Isolating you from family, friends, loved ones, colleagues, and neighbors
· Forcing you to engage in sex or perform sexual acts, with them or with others
· Engaging in sexual behavior that you do not consent to or situations you do not feel safe in, including the use of weapons, choking, other forms of restraint, or other people
· Recording sexual interactions
· Hurting you during sex
· Demanding that you prove your love or commitment through sex
· Punishing you emotionally or physically for refusing to consent to sex or forms of sex
Source: Much of this information has been developed using information from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org.
How to Get and Give Support
If you are in a relationship where you feel unsafe or abused, resources are available to help you determine what the next best steps are for your life and your specific situation. You can start by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline or a local domestic violence support or intervention program near you.
However you choose to proceed, please know that there is no one solution to navigating an abusive relationship. You can take the time you need to make the decisions that are best for you. These support programs will help you determine the options available to you and develop a safety plan that addresses your circumstances.
If you are concerned that someone in your life may be the victim of an abusive or violent relationship, please remember that the best thing you can do is provide support.
- Remind the person that they are loved and that you will help them, and that there are resources available to help them when they are ready.
- Give them the space to make decisions about their life – victims in abusive relationships lack control over their lives. Pushing them to make decisions they are not ready for only further reduces their control over their life. Leaving an abusive relationship takes time, and often, repeated attempts.
- Provide a listening ear and reiterate that you recognize the stress and difficulty of their circumstances.
- Continue to be a safe space and a support system.
Our Work to Stop Domestic Violence
In the first half of 2020, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received 2,542 contacts from people in North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Justice and Attorney General Josh Stein are committed to protecting the people of North Carolina, including victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence is often caused by an intimate partner, but it has real ramifications for public health and public safety.
In 2019, Attorney General Stein announced the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP), a new statewide strategy to help law enforcement officers proactively and quickly protect domestic violence victims who are at risk of being killed by their partners. LAP gives law enforcement a research-based checklist of factors to consider when responding to a domestic violence incident. If an officer determines that a victim is at risk of injury or death, the officer will follow a clear procedure to connect the victim to local domestic violence service providers for support.
Our office’s Public Protection Section also operates the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) for victims and survivors of violence and abuse. If you are a victim, you can enroll in ACP with the assistance of your local domestic violence or sexual assault agency. As part of a comprehensive safety plan, this program will help keep your new address safe from possible or former abusers.
The Public Protection Section also supports victims of abuse by providing educational presentations on domestic violence and developing policy solutions to address violence.