Domestic Violence by the numbers:
Every minute 20 people in our country become a victim of intimate partner violence (NACDV, 2016). In NH, 88% of homicides in 2015 were domestic violence related.
Children: The Not So Silent Victims
Children are often the forgotten victims of domestic violence:
Studies suggest that between 3.3 and 10 million children are exposed to domestic violence annually.
Children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to exhibit behavioral and physical health problems including depression, anxiety, and violence towards peers. They are also more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes.
-From the Family Violence Prevention Fund Website
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to gain and maintain power and control over another person.Â Domestic violence is an intentional course of behavior which is NOT about anger, stress, alcohol or other substance abuse. Some forms of domestic violence are overt: i.e. hitting, shoving, pushing, biting, slapping, pinching, strangling and other forms of physical violence. In many cases, the signs and forms of violence are more subtle and can be difficult to recognize.
Some examples of more subtle forms are identified in the Power and Control Wheel above. Additional forms of abuse may include:
Withholding immigration paperwork or identification
Threatening to have the victim deported
Undermining parenting decisions
Abuse of pets
Engaging the children in the abuse
Using custody, visitation or child support to maintain control over the victim
Restricting or monitoring the victims use of telephone, computer, car or other necessities
Withholding medical benefits or insurance
Disconnecting utilities when the victim gets a protective order
Uses the court system against the victim
Self-harm reported to law enforcement as domestic violence related injuries
Threatening to take the kids away either themselves or through child protective services
Who experiences Domestic Violence?
You, a loved one, a friend, a co-worker or a neighbor.
You may have witnessed violence as a child.
You may have witnessed domestic violence at work, school, or in the community through friends, family or even a client or patient.
Domestic violence affects victims young and old.
It knows no gender. It knows no health status. Income status.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, at any time.
Why does the victim stay with an abusive partner?
No one plans to become involved in a relationship that becomes violent. The coercive pattern of domestic violence occurs in the Cycle of Violence which perpetuates the violence. Hope that the abuse will end and fear of the partner also continues the cycle.
- Stage 1 is sometimes called “Walking on Eggshells Stage” as it begins with a calm period, but tension and stress slowly build. There may be “minor” incidents but the victim is more likely to try to “stay out of the way” of the abuser, please and placate them, and avoid doing anything that might make them angry. This can go on for extended periods or can last just a few hours and can lead to excuse-making, and denial of the problem. However, eventually, the victim is likely to feel of sense of “when will the other shoe drop?”. The victim may even act in ways in which she or he thinks is likely to lead to the next stage in order to have some control over the violence.
- Stage 2 is the Violent Stage, and begins with some explosive outbursts and significant violence. Many people think of violent couples as living constantly in this stage, and do not recognize the other two stages. However, just as likely is that the incident goes undetected by outsiders; the victim may hide the bruises, tell the neighbors the television was on loudly, call in sick to work, etc…. Children are at significant risk at this stage to be hurt, sometimes by accident during the parent’s struggle, sometimes after directly intervening to halt the abuse and protect one parent, and sometimes by the abuser.
- Stage 3 is called “The Honeymoon Stage” as it is likely marked by closeness and affection from the abuser. The abuser is likely to be very sorry about the abuse, to promise to get help or never hit again, and show their regret with gifts, affection, attention, etc… The victim may feel much loved after this, may decide the violence was a one-time incident, and may decide to forgive the partner.
The Cycle of Violence can take years to make one turn around or it could take minutes or hours. Usually, some intervention must happen in order for the cycle to be interrupted. The cycle usually escalates and repeats with more frequency and intensity.
Some of the other reasons victims do not feel safe leaving include:
- She’s tried to leave before and was found
- The children will have to leave schools or live in a shelter
- The abuser controls all the finances
- Fear: she has been threatened that things will get worse if she leaves
- Friends and family may blame her for the abuse
- Clergy, police, therapists, or other social workers blame her
- She blames herself
- No one believes she is being abused
- She doesn’t believe she is being abused
- Her partner was abused as a child
- Her partner has an alcohol or drug problem
- She was abused as a child
- She has an alcohol or drug problem
- The abuser threatens to kill her or the children
- The abuser threatens suicide
- She can’t speak English
- Her cultural community will abandon or shun her
- She does not have legal status in this country
- She or her partner is a public figure
- She can’t read or write
- Religious or spiritual beliefs
- Leaving does not guarantee safety
How do I get help for me or someone I care about?
?Listen and believe the victim.
?Always remember that it is not the victim’s fault.
?Validate the victim’s feelings and strength.
?Help the victim understand it is not her/his fault.
?Help any children understand that it is not their fault.
?Support the victim’s right to make her/his own choices about how to handle the violence.
?Provide accurate information about community services.
?Encourage the victim to call the Crisis Service.
?Get informed about domestic violence and how to stop it.
☑️Get to a safe location.
☑️Call the police if you are in immediate danger @ 911.
☑️Call a friend, family member, or YWCA NH 24 hour crisis line at 603-668-2299.
☑️Get medical attention for any injuries. A YWCA advocate can meet you at the hospital, police department, medical facility or your own doctor’s office.
☑️Ask police for an Emergency Protective Order.
☑️Assess whether it is safe to remain in your home and seek emergency shelter if necessary.
Domestic Violence Petitions (DVPs)
There are many ways victim survivors can reduce risks while coping with a domestic violence relationship. The responsibility for the abuse to stop lies with the abuser. More often than not, the abuse will continue and sometimes escalate.
A victim may want to consider getting a protective order to keep her/him and the children safe while deciding how to handle the domestic violence relationship. Domestic Violence Petitions or Restraining Orders (DVPs or ROs) may be obtained at Manchester District Court or by coming to YWCA NH Crisis Service. Occasionally, an advocate may recommend getting the protective order in superior court of there are children involved or if there are other legal matters pending. If you or someone you know needs assistance, give us a call, we are always here to help.
Things to know about DVPs/TROs:
- There must be an intimate partner or familial relationship to qualify for a DVP.
- There must be an act of real or threatened harm under NH RSA 173B.
- There must be a need for protection, the victim must be in fear for their safety, or there is credible imminent danger to oneself.
- You must have a photo ID to present at court.
- Orders must be served in hand to the defendant for the order to be in effect.
- A temporary order is good for 30 days and a final hearing will be set within that time for a final order.
- The defendant has the right to request an expedited hearing which is scheduled within 3-5 days of the request.
- The defendant is usually not present at the temporary hearing.
- You must be at least 12 years old to get a protective order.
- Final orders are usually granted for 1 year.
- DVPs are not criminal complaints. They are only served by law enforcement.
- Use of home, car and child custody and child support can be established at the final hearing.
You do not have to go through this process alone. An advocate can meet you at court or at the office to assist you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
Safety Note: There are cases where a DVP or TRO are not safe or “right” for the victim. Victims are the experts of their relationships and their partners, and knows how a DVP may escalate violence or make their home more unsafe. It can be difficult for friends, family members, and others to understand why a victim may not want to get a DVP. There are many other safety options which can be explored at the YWCA Crisis Service.
Preparing to Leave
For some victims, the safest course of action is to leave the domestic violence relationship and the shared residence. This is not an easy decision. Some victims flee immediately, while others:
Gather the following (make copies if necessary):
☑️Social security Cards
☑️Lease/deed to house
☑️Clothing & sentimental items
During violent incidents or arguments:
☑️Avoid the kitchen and bathrooms where there are sharp objects.
☑️Go to areas where there are two ways to get out of the room (doors or windows).
☑️If your partner gets physically violent, drop to the floor, curl into a ball, and cover your head to avoid serious injury.
☑️Yell “FIRE” or “HELP”. This will attract helpers by.
☑️Dial 911 from a landline phone. Even if you do not talk, the police will respond to your address.
☑️Choose a hiding place for your child(ren) to go until the violence is over.
☑️When the violent incident is over, call for support when you can. Re-assess your safety plan with a crisis center advocate.
Once You Leave & You’re Safe
? Seek safe and confidential housing through friends or family or your local domestic violence crisis service.
? Change your address at the post office & use a confidential address program (see your crisis service for help with this program).
? Notify any agency (DCYF, TANF, NHEP etc.) where you get services or receive benefits so the abuser can not access your accounts.
? Take your name off any shared utility accounts or bank accounts.
? If you do not get a protective order, you may want to seek an emergency custody order from your local superior court.
? Change your license plate number if you own a vehicle.
? Avoid using cell phones or any other electronic card or banking as this is easily used to track your location.
? Be cautious about sharing your location or contact information even with family and friends who may appear supportive.
? Register any protective orders with local law enforcement in towns where you live or visit frequently.
Reporting the Assault to the Police
Whether you seek medical attention or not, you have the right to report domestic violence to the police. You can call 911. You can call us and we will help you connect with law enforcement. You do not need to report the assault to the police to get assistance.
Manchester Police Department 668-8711
Derry Police Department 432-6111
Goffstown Police Department 497-4858
Londonderry Police Department 432-1118
Weare Police Department 529-7755
Auburn Police Department 483-2134
New Boston Police Department 487-2433
Bedford Police Department 472-5113
Deering Police Department 464-3127
When reporting a domestic assault, most often a uniformed patrol officer will take the initial report. That report is then assigned to an investigating officer who will contact the victim for a follow-up interview.
Victims/survivors are under no obligation to report domestic assaults to law enforcement. Some survivors say that reporting the crime to law enforcement helped them to feel safer and reclaim their power by holding the perpetrators accountable. However, for others, the criminal justice process can feel overwhelming. Advocates can support victims/survivors who would like to use the criminal justice system through the court process. You do not have to do this alone.