Belchertown Citizen Resources: Domestic Violence

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence or family violence is the abuse of power or control. It is behavior used by one person to control another through force or threats. A batterer makes a choice to strike, hit, kick, punch or threaten the victim.

Domestic violence includes threats and physical or sexual attacks. These violent acts are criminal and the batterer can be prosecuted for committing them. The acts are a means of controlling the victim’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. The violence does not lessen over time. The threats and, or beatings generally happen more often with time, last longer and cause greater physical injuries.

Emotional abuse and insulting words are almost always part of the abuse pattern, but are not considered criminal acts. The wounds from these injuries, however, may be more difficult to heal.

Domestic violence is not caused by or provoked by the actions or inaction’s of the victim. Domestic violence is not directly caused by alcohol or drug abuse, depression, lack of money, lack of a job, mental illness or abuse as a child. However, existing problems often create additional stress in a relationship and may increase the risk of violence. Many abusers blame the victim or other things for their violent acts and do not take responsibility for the abusive behavior. There is never an excuse for violence.

Although the majority of Domestic Violence victims tend to be women, this is not always the case. With increasing frequency we are seeing men as victims of domestic violence.