Domestic Violence Prevention: Methods And Resources

Updated May 13, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC

Content/Trigger Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include sexual assault & violence, which could potentially be triggering.

Source: rawpixel.com

Fifteen percent of all violent crime happens between intimate partners. Using domestic violence prevention techniques and resources, you can stay safe in your relationship or help someone you know or someone in your community does the same.

Know What Domestic Violence Is

Domestic violence is considered a serious health problem. It's violence that happens within the context of a close relationship, particularly with an intimate partner.

Define Intimate Partner

Someone is considered your intimate partner if:

  • You're emotionally connected with them
  • You have regular contact with them
  • You have regular physical contact or sexual behavior with them
  • You consider yourselves a couple
  • You're familiar with each other's lives

Types Of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can range from mild to life-threatening. It can happen once or often over the course of years. There are four basic types of domestic or intimate partner violence.

  • Physical violence - hurting someone through physical force, including hitting, kicking, slapping, punching, biting, choking, etc. Physical violence also includes forcing someone to do these acts to someone else.
  • Sexual violence - rape, forcing someone to penetrate someone else who doesn't consent, unwanted sexual contact, forcing someone to view pornography or engage in other unwanted sexual experiences.
  • Stalking - unwanted attention that causes the victim fear and concern for their safety or the safety of someone else; for example, unwanted phone calls, spying, following from a distance, threatening a pet, etc.
  • Psychological aggression - verbal or nonverbal aggression meant to mentally or emotionally harm or control someone.

Recognize Red Flags And Signs Of Abuse

To prevent domestic violence, you need to stop it before it happens. Knowing the signs and watching for red flags of abuse can help protect you and give you time to prepare to getaway. The following signs of abuse may appear just before the domestic violence happens, or they may appear early in the relationship.

Source: rawpixel.com

  • They intentionally embarrass you
  • They prevent you from working
  • They control all the financial decisions that affect you
  • They blame you for all the relationship problems
  • They maliciously damage your property
  • They're jealous of your friends
  • They don't like you spending time away from them
  • They threaten to hurt you, someone you love, or a pet if you don't do what they say
  • They emotionally push you into having sex when you don't want it
  • They intimidate you with physical displays of power and weapons

Learn Healthy Relationship Skills

The best method for domestic violence prevention is to only be in a healthy, positive relationship. Does that mean you have to leave your partner if you have relationship problems? Not necessarily. You can learn healthy relationship skills together and get your partnership on a healthy track. Better yet, you can learn healthy relationship skills from the beginning of the relationship.

Safe Communication

For safe communication, both partners need to feel free to communicate openly and honestly. Communication includes both expressing yourself and actively listening to the other person. You need to be able to have important conversations face-to-face without being verbally or physically attacked.

You need to learn ways of dealing with conflict. If you become angry, you can wait up to 48 hours before you tell your partner or decide not to tell them at all, especially if you feel you're in danger by telling. If you talk to them when you're angry, you need to take a short break, figure out the real problem, talk to them, and listen to them. They need to do the same for you. You also need to respect each other's opinions.

Trust

Trust is crucial in an intimate partner relationship. When you assume your partner is telling you their truth and assuming the same, you can avoid unnecessary hurt feelings. You also need to be able to trust that your partner won't invade your privacy.

Boundaries

Every relationship - even between intimate partners - needs to be built on mutual respect for healthy boundaries. Examples of healthy boundaries include:

  • You have the final say on any decisions concerning only you
  • Your partner includes you in financial decisions
  • You control your property
  • You are in control of your own actions
  • It's your decision whether to agree to sex
  • Your partner doesn't force you to become pregnant

Source: pexels.com

Mutual Respect

For an intimate relationship to work, each partner needs to respect the other. You respect each other's opinions and freedom to choose. You deal with sexual matters respectfully with each other, deciding together if you want to have sexual relations at any specific time. If someone doesn't consent to sex, the other partner respects their decision and honors it.

Build Support Systems

Everyone needs a support system. When you're in an unequal or unhealthy relationship, you need more support than ever. Reach out to family members and friends to get to know them better. Meet new people when you can. Be involved in community or volunteer projects where you can talk to people outside the relationship.

Support groups can sometimes help, too. When domestic violence support groups were first established, their focus was on people who had left abusive relationships. More recently, though, support groups have been started to help women who are still in such relationships. These groups tend to focus on safety planning, learning about abuse dynamics, and getting emotional support.

Practice Tech Safety

If you're in an unhealthy and potentially violent relationship, you need to know how your partner might monitor the way you use your smartphone, tablet, or computer. They can find out virtually everything you do on your device if they can get access to the device. So, use a computer they don't have access to, such as one in your local library, shelter, or workplace, if you need to make travel plans, research your legal rights, or work out a safety plan.

Open a new email account if you need to send and receive emails concerning current or potential abuse or plans to leave. Use that account only on a safe computer.

Use a pay-as-you-go cell phone to use when you don't want your partner to monitor your device use. Know that your car's GPS may be used to find your location.

Be careful with social media. Avoid posting anything personal, especially if it's something your partner can use to hurt you or find you after you leave. Ask your friends not to make social media posts that might reveal information about you. Don't share your social media passwords with anyone.

Know Your Rights

The legal system can help domestic violence even before you decide to leave a potentially violent relationship. Find out the legal definitions regarding domestic violence where you are. Learn how you can get help and what options you'll have if you do leave.

Source: rawpixel.com

Make A Safety Plan

Having a safety plan in place when you need it might save your life. Your safety plan is a practical plan tailored to you and your unique circumstances. Its purpose is to help you stay safe while in the relationship, when getting ready to leave it, and after you've left.

You can call or chat with the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help with creating your own individualized safety plan. They're known for understanding how to prevent domestic violence when possible and what to do if it happens. Here are some of the types of things you might include in a safety plan:

  • Identifying safe places to hide or go to in times of crisis
  • Learning about resources where you are
  • Knowing what legal help is available and where to get it
  • Teaching your children how to get help if needed
  • Making up a list of reasons you have to leave the house
  • Documenting red flag behaviors and domestic violence incidents
  • Preparing yourself for life away from your abuser by getting job skills or taking courses
  • Getting a restraining order
  • Having ID and other important papers ready
  • Calling 911 or a hotline when your life is in danger
  • Planning what you will do if your partner finds out about the plan

Know Vital Contact Information

If you're in a dangerous situation, you'll probably need some help. Know the names and contact information of organizations that can help you, such as shelters and domestic violence hotlines, as well as the contact information of supportive friends. Memorize these numbers or keep them with you so you'll have them when you need them.

Source: rawpixel.com

You can also get support and understanding from a therapist. If you feel it's unsafe for you to go to a therapist's office physically, one option is to get online therapy from a licensed counselor at ReGain.us. Your counselor can help you learn better relationship skills for domestic violence prevention or after you've left. They can support you as you make crucial decisions about whether, when, and how to leave.

No one should ever have to be afraid of their intimate partner. If someone you're in a close relationship with shows any warning signs of domestic violence, don't hesitate to get help. Even if you aren't ready to leave, you need to prepare yourself for staying safe both when you're in the relationship and if you choose to leave it.


Previous Article

22 Reasons You Need To Take Domestic Violence Classes

Next Article

23 Benefits Of Domestic Violence Counseling & Why It Matters
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Therapist Today
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.