206-363-9601 hope@nwfamilylife.org

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behaviors designed to have power and control over another individual in an intimate relationship.  According to the legal system (RCW 9A), domestic violence is defined as including, but not limited to, any of the following crimes when committed by one family or household member against another:
Assault, Reckless Endangerment, Coercion, Burglary, Criminal Trespass, Malicious Mischief, Kidnapping, Unlawful Imprisonment, Stalking, Violation of a Restraining Order, Restraining the Person or Excluding the Person From Residence, Violation of a Protection Order, Violation of a No-Contact Order, Rape, or Interfering with the Reporting of Domestic Violence.

Not all acts of domestic violence are included in the legal definition of domestic violence. Northwest Family Life teaches that domestic violence exists in seven forms:

1.   Psychological Abuse
2.   Economic Abuse
4.   Sexual Abuse
5.   Physical Abuse
6.   Legal Abuse
7.   Religious Abuse

Examples of these forms of behavior include: controlling tactics, isolation, threats of violence, using force during an argument or sex, blaming others for one’s own problems and feelings, using children to gain power or control in a situation, erratic jealousy, misusing scripture to gain control and power, exercising a dual personality that creates fear and uncertainty…and the list goes on.

These forms of abuse are learned behaviors and intentional actions that can be changed. Domestic violence is not caused by the victim’s behavior. It is a direct result of the choices that a batterer is making. Violence is a choice, and it can be changed with the desire to do so and with the assistance of skilled professionals.

Because domestic violence is a learned behavior, children are especially vulnerable to establishing the pattern of domestic violence in their own lives. Both boys and girls will learn the behavior patterns of their parents. While all children vow that they will not repeat the harmful patterns of their parents, the reality is that most children do in fact become reflections of their parents without some form of intervention. Providing children with therapeutic intervention will decrease the likelihood that boys will become men who batter, and girls will become women who allow the pattern to become established in their relationships.

Therapeutic assistance is highly valuable as an avenue for children who are raised in abusive homes to deal with an array of intense and confusing emotions. In addition to dealing with the expected demands of daily life, children raised in abusive homes experience depression, frustration, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, helplessness, self-blame, guilt, sadness, and grief. Furthermore, they are prone to developing difficulties with developing trust, self-confidence, positive self-images, and healthy means of expressing emotions.

Domestic violence impacts an entire family. Not only does the abuser need to receive intervention and treatment, the victims of abuse need to seek support and counseling as well. In order to meet the needs of a family that is dealing with domestic violence, we suggest that you contact agencies in your area that specialize in domestic violence. If you are located in the greater Seattle area, Northwest Family Life has programs that are designed to meet the needs of the abuser, the abused, and the children affected.

Portions of this informational page were copied from the King County Council’s Domestic and Dating Violence Information and Resource Handbook and used with the permission of the King County Prosecutor’s Office in Seattle, Washington.

If you are in need of immediate assistance, you can call the  24-hour Crisis Clinic at 866.4CRISIS (866.427.4747)

Internet Safety for Your Safety

If an abuser can access your computer, they can find out what Web sites you have visited, what documents you have edited, what e-mail you have sent, etc. They can even install a monitoring program that secretly records everything that is done on the computer. You are much safer using a friend’s computer, a computer at work, or a computer at the library rather than your home computer.

If you do use your home computer, be sure to take the following steps to clear out the web browser history information that your computer automatically records. Here are the steps to follow:

Web Browser History

Web browsers keep a running history of the Web pages you have visited and keep copies of the graphics on these pages. Also, Windows and Macintosh systems keep a history of the Web pages and documents you have recently accessed.

Delete your document history as follows:

Windows
1. Click on the Start menu, then select Settings, Taskbar and Start Menu. This will bring up the Taskbar Properties dialog.
2. Click on the Advanced tab on the dialog box. Click on the Clear button.

Macintosh
1. Click on the Apple icon on the menu bar, then scroll down to Recent Items.
2. From this menu choose Clear Menu.

Delete your Web browser’s history and saved graphics as follows:

Microsoft Internet Explorer
1. Click on the Tools menu, then click on Internet Options. A dialog box will come up.
2. Click the Delete Files button in the Temporary Internet files area. Click OK when the confirmation box comes up.
3. Click the Clear History button.

Netscape Navigator
1. Click on the Edit menu, then click on Preferences. A dialog box will come up.
2. Click the Clear History button.
3. Click the Clear Location Bar button.
4. In the Category: panel on the left side of the dialog box, click the little button next to Advanced. Click on Cache.
5. In the Cache panel on the right, click the Clear Disk Cache button. Click OK when the confirmation box comes up.

On older versions of Netscape Navigator (version 3 and below):
1. Click on the Options menu, then click on Network Preferences. A dialog box will come up.
2. Click on the Cache tab.
3. In the Cache panel on the right, click the Clear Disk Cache button. Click OK when the confirmation box comes up.

AOL
1. Click on the Members menu, click on Preferences.
2. Click on the WWW icon.
3. Select Advanced and then Purge Cache.

These steps empty the history list completely, which might raise the suspicions of a computer-savvy abuser. You can refill the history list by simply going to some innocuous sites like www.cnn.com and www.yahoo.com after you have followed the above steps.

Editing Documents

Be sure not to store documents that you do not want seen on a computer that your abuser has access to. If you use a computer to edit confidential documents be sure to:

1. Clear Document History on applications like Microsoft Word and Excel. These applications keep a history of the most recent documents opened. You can see them at the bottom of the File menu. The easiest way to clear this history is to open several innocuous documents so that the confidential document names are pushed off the menu. Another way to do this is to click on the Tools menu, click on Options or Preferences, click on the General tab of the dialog box that comes up, then click the Clear History button.
2 . Empty your Recycle/Trash bin.

Recommended Reading

Click here to download a pdf of our recommended resources.

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