Domestic Violence Facts

September 9, 2021, in the state of Virginia, 40 local domestic violence and dual domestic/sexual violence agencies reported serving 1,259 victims, including 692 adults and children staying in emergency shelter or transitional housing and 567 surviovors receiving supportives services, such as counseling, legal advocacy, and support groups.    


Family violence, known as domestic violence or wife beating, involves the systematic use of force, threats, and/or intimidation by any individual, male or female, upon another in order for the dominating person to have control over the victim. Family violence is any abuse between family or household members including physical, emotional, sexual and economic.

Characteristics of an Abuser

  • Controlling and abusive behavior
  • Extremely possessive and jealous
  • Unpredictability
  • Verbal abuse
  • They are manipulative
  • Hyper-critical or judgmental

Indicators of Abuse

  • Being jumpier or more on guarad
  • Withdrawing and not wanting to be around other people
  • Having unexplained physical injuries
  • Being more moody (angry, depressed, sad) than normal
  • Losing interest in activities they once liked
  • Having unexplained physical injuries


  • Statistics
  • A total of 25% of women and almost 10% of men experience domestic violence during their lifetime (that includes sexual and physical assault.
  • About 35% of women experiencing domestic violence have physical injuries.
  • More than 11% of men who experience domestic violence have physical injuries.
  • According to The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, more than half (54%) of people identifying as transgender or non-binary experienced some form of domestic violence, including acts of coercive control or physical harm. 
  • More than 30% of Virginia’s homicides are domestic violence related. 
  • Women make up 51% of Virginia’s population but account for 63% of the people killed by firearms in intimate partner-related homicides. 
  • In 2019, The VAdata Sexual Violence Services reported, more than 22,000 adults and nearly 5,300 children received domestic violence advocacy services. 
  • A total of 20% of the people who received these services had to relocate or experienced homelessness as a result of domestic violence. 
  • In 2019, 87% of domestic violence prepetrators in Virginia were men, and 13% were women. 

Types of Abuse

We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. 

Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.

Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.

Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.

Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

Reproductive Coercion: Threats or acts of violence against a partner’s reproductive health or reproductive decision-making and is a collection of behaviors intended to pressure or coerce a partner into becoming a parent, ending a pregnancy, and tampering with birth control methods.

Who’s Affected

Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.

Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.

Sources:, National Domestic Violence HotlineNational Center for Victims of Crime, and

What you can do to Help

With domestic violence being painfully common across the county, we all know someone who has been impacted.  You might know someone right now and are wondering how to help. 

1. Believe them – Victims are often ashamed and embarrassed. If they feel comfortable enough to tell you about the abuse, believe it!

2. Support them – Isolation is a major tactic that abusers use. Victims sometime survived the abuse because they know the abuser better than anyone. It is wise to take time to plan for safety before making big changes. Don’t become frustrated and give up on them!

3. Empower them – Victims have often lost control of their own lives. They haven’t been able to make decisions for themselves without first checking with the abuser. The abuser has talked down to them and made them feel worthless, hopeless, and powerless. Empower them to take the control back. This is done by supporting them and helping them to build confidence so they can take back their lives. 

4. Educate them – Providing tools and resources to a survivor in a safe way can help to give them hope that support and help is available.  

5. Break the silence and speak out against interpersonal violence. Create awareness in your community and within your family.