Domestic violence encompasses all acts of violence against women within family or intimate relationships. It cuts across all income brackets, races and cultures, and is the leading cause of injury to women ages 15 to 44. It is an issue of increasing concern because it has such a negative effect on all family members, especially children. Domestic violence may be physical abuse or psychological abuse – or both.
Physical abuse usually happens repeatedly and increases in both frequency and severity over time. Although most assaults on women do not result in death, they do result in physical injury and severe emotional distress. Frequently, women do not report physical injuries and many remain unrecognized or unacknowledged by professionals. Please tell your physician or clinician. He or she can help.
Signs of domestic violence
Below we’ve provided some of the key signs that domestic violence is happening – either to you or to a relative or friend. A "yes" answer to any of these questions means that your or your relative or friend may be in an abusive relationship and should get help immediately. It is important to understand that an abusive partner chooses to be violent and it is not the victim's fault, despite what the abuser might say. Abusers can control themselves if they want to, as they do with coworkers, bosses and friends. Also remember that abuse usually becomes worse over time. Please tell your physician or clinician and encourage family and friends to do the same. Your physician or clinician can help.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Have you ever been physically hurt, such as kicked, pushed or punched, by your partner or ex-partner?
- Has your partner ever used the threat of hurting you to get you to do something?
- Has your partner tried to keep you from seeing your family, going to school, or doing other things that are important to you?
- Do you feel like you are being controlled or isolated by your partner?
- Have you ever been forced by your partner to have sex when you did not want to?
- Has your partner ever insisted on having unsafe sex?
- Is your partner very jealous and always questioning whether you are faithful?
- Does your partner regularly blame you for things that you could not control or insult you?
- Are you ever afraid of your partner or of going home? Does he/she make you feel unsafe?
Signs of domestic violence that you might see in a relative or friend:
- Claiming to be accident-prone
- Injuries that could not be caused by accident, or do not match the story of what happened to cause them.
- Injuries on many different areas of the body, especially areas that are less likely to get hurt, such as the face, throat, neck, chest, abdomen, or genitals.
- Many injuries that happened at different times.
- Bruises, burns, or wounds that are shaped like objects such as teeth, hands, belts, a cigarette tip, or look like the injured person has a glove or sock on (from having a hand or foot placed in boiling water).
- Seeking medical help a lot.
- Waiting to or not seeking medical help for serious injuries.
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Suicide attempts
Help for domestic violence
Most assaults on women are by their partners, and most are not reported.
Even when domestic violence abuse ends, either by fixing the situation or leaving the situation, survivors of domestic violence experience a high incidence of depression and suicidal ideas; they attempt suicide and have elevated rates of substance abuse, chronic fatigue, anxiety, sleeping and eating disorders, and nightmares. Please tell your physician or clinician. He or she can help you find the resource you need.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, you can also place a confidential call to any of these centers in Connecticut:
CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence
1-888-999-5545 (sexual assault)
The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services-Ansonia and New Haven area
(203) 736-2601 or (203) 483-2630
The Center for Family Justice (formerly The Center for Women & Families)-Bridgeport
DV Help: 203-384-9559
Sexual Assault Crisis Help: 203-333-2233
203-731-5204 (Sexual Assault Hotline)
Domestic Violence Program United Services-Dayville and Willimantic
860-774-8648 / 860-456-9476
Network Against Domestic Abuse- Enfield
Domestic Abuse Services Greenwich YWCA
Interval House- Hartford
Prudence Crandall Center-New Britain
Safe Futures-New London (Formerly the Women’s Center of SE CT)
860-701-6001 (Sexual Assault)
Domestic Violence Crisis Center- Norwalk and Stamford
Women’s Support Services- Sharon
Susan B Anthony Project- Torrington
1-888-568-8332 (Sexual assault in Spanish)
Safe Haven- Waterbury
203-753-3613 (Sexual Assault)
Available services include:
- 24/7 hot lines
- Free confidential services to victims and their children
- Emergency shelters
- Transitional housing
- Walk-in crisis services (some locations)
- Case management
- Support groups
- Legal advocacy
- Safety planning
- Community outreach and education.
- Multiple languages supported