ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Domestic Violence constitutes a pattern of behavior whereby physical, sexual, psychological and/or economic abuse is used
in order to maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
It often increases in severity as time goes on, and it always results in the intimidation of the victim.
Violence in the home creates a legacy of emotional damage and often has a devastating psychological effect on the children.
HOW COMMON IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Half of all marital relationships in this country, regardless of race, class or religion involve some form of domestic abuse. A woman is beaten every 9 seconds, according to the
U.S. Department of Justice. Battering is the single larges cause of injury to women, surpassing rapes, muggings and even automobile accidents. SEE MORE STATISTICS
WHO ARE THE VICTIMS?
They are our neighbors, our mothers, sisters, aunts and friends. Victims of domestic violence
Come from all social, economic and educational backgrounds.
Any time a mother is abused, her children are at risk for physical abuse.
In addition, the children may bear lifelong scars from the terror of witnessing the abuse.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP?
Talk with a friend or relative you trust about what's going on. They may be a good source of support.
Contact the Laurel House hotline at 1-800-642-3150
to find out about laws and community resources (i.e. shelter, counseling, community support groups, legal assistance)
before you need them. They can help you plan ways to stay safe. If you do not live in Montgomery County,
Pennsylvania, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
They will give you the number of a domestic violence program in your area.
Ask your health care provider or a friend to take photographs of your injuries, such as bruises, scratches, black eys, etc.,
and make sure that they are put in your medical records, or in a safe place with a written description of what happened.
This information will make it easier for you if you decide to take legal action in the future,
such as getting a protection from abuse order, pressing criminal charges, or obtaining child custody.
Arrange a signal with a neighbor to let him or her know when you need help. For example, turn on a porch light
during the day, or pull down a particular window shade.
Keep some money stored in a secret place so that you have access to it in an emergency,
or if you decide to leave, be sure to include some coins so you can make calls from a public phone if you need to.
You can also pack a change of clothes, personal care items, important legal papers, etc. for yourself and your children
and ask a neighbor or friend to keep them, along with an extra set of keys, in case you need to leave quickly.
Call 911 if you or your children are in danger and need help.
When and if you decide to leave, take important papers with you (i.e. birth certificates, passports, health
insurance documents, photo ID or driver's license, immunization records, checkbook, medication, food stamps,
Social Security cards, etc., for you and your children.