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What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, threatening, and violent behaviors aimed at gaining power and control over an intimate partner. This includes name-calling, controlling who the partner talks to, using children as a weapon, and blaming.


For examples of the tactics batterers use click here.


Why do intimate partners hurt the person they care about?

Because they believe they have the right to. And because they can get away with it. They get what they want, when they want it. They get their way. They have learned that abuse works and that it’s okay to treat a partner that way. They may have learned it watching their parents; they may have learned it in school, from friends, from the media, or from our history and culture.

There are angry people, hurt people, survivors of child abuse, alcoholics, people with mental illness, depressed people, combat veterans, stressed people, and people who had a terrible day at work that don’t abuse their partners. Those are all just excuses.


How does domestic violence affect families?

Abusive behavior affects more than just the adult victim. Children witness the batterer’s behavior and often are the targets themselves. They may respond by acting out, acting self-destructively, or showing other trauma symptoms. Parents who are being hurt may struggle to be the best parent they can be, as the batterer drains them emotionally and physically. The choices made by the adult victim may seem uncaring or neglectful to outsiders who don’t understand the range of abusive behaviors and threats the victim is facing. Staying with an abusive partner and sacrificing her own safety, may seem like the best way to protect the children from being alone with a violent parent, being kidnapped, or being killed in retaliation for leaving.


Research shows that the key factor for children healing from being exposed to family violence is the strength of the relationship with their primary caretaker. Steps to intervene should be aimed at strengthening that bond. 


If you feel you're in an abusive relationship, please know that you are not alone and it's not your fault. It may be critical for you to think about finding support and safety.



Domestic Violence Programs in Iowa


Battered immigrant women and children face greater obstacles escaping violence, and ICADV is committed to providing legal responses to clients who are undocumented immigrants or at risk of losing documentation due to abuse. Click here to learn more about the services ICADV provides.


Safety Planning

A safety plan can be a very helpful tool in keeping you safe.  Safety planning for someone who is still in an abusive relationship is often a necessary and important step.  You can plan for your safety while still with your abuser or after the relationship has ended.  As you think about creating your safety plan, think about your own strengths and the resources you have access to that may be helpful.  It may also be important to seek out help from an advocate in developing your safety plan.  They also have information or referrals you need to be safer. Below is a list of tips and ideas to help with your safety plan.

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