Domestic violence is not a singular act. It is an insidious problem deeply rooted in our culture. 

Domestic Violence - The term domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence created by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to the spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction. 

Dating Violence - The term dating violence means violence committed by a person (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (1) the length of the relationship, (2) the type of relationship, (3) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. 

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income or other factors. Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. 


Legal Definitions 

Domestic Violence 

1. Violence between members of a household, usually spouses; an assault or other violent act committed by one member of a household against another. 2. The infliction of physical injury or the creation of a reasonable fear that physical injury or harm will be inflicted, by a parent or a member or former member of a child's household, against a child, or against another member of the household. - also termed domestic abuse; family violence. 

Battered Woman 

A woman who is the victim of domestic violence; A woman who has suffered physical, emotional, or sexual abuse at the hands of a spouse or partner. 

Battered - Woman Syndrome 

A constellation of medical and psychological conditions of a woman who has suffered physical, sexual, or emotional abuse at the hands of a spouse or partner. * Battered woman syndrome was first described in the early 1970's by Dr. Lenore Walker. It consists of a three-stage cycle of violence : (1) the tension - building stage, which may include verbal and mild physical abuse ; (2) the acute battering stage, which includes stronger verbal abuse, increased physical violence, and perhaps rape or other sexual abuse; and (3) the loving - contrition stage, which includes the abusers apologies, attentiveness, kindness, and gift-giving. Sometimes termed battered-wife syndrome; battered-spouse syndrome; battered-person syndrome. 

Battered Child 

A child upon whom physical or sexual abuse has been inflicted, usually by a relative or caregiver, or close family friend. 

Battered-Child Syndrome 

A constellation of medical and psychological conditions of a child who has suffered continuing injuries that could not be accidental and are therefore presumed to have been inflicted by  someone close to the child, usually a caregiver. Diagnosis typically results from a radiological finding of distinct bone trauma and persistent tissue damage caused by intentional injury, such as twisting or hitting with violence. The phrase was first used by Dr. Henry Kempe and his colleagues in a 1962 article entitled " The Battered Child Syndrome " , which appeared in the Journal of American Medical Association. As a result of research on battered-child syndrome, the Children's Bureau of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare drafted a model statute requiring physicians to report serious cases of suspected child abuse. 

Domestic violence most often occurs between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. , and more than 60% of domestic violence incidents happen at home. 

Domestic violence and abuse are used by the abuser for the sole purpose of gaining and then maintaining control over the victims. Domestic abuse / violence often turns from threats and verbal abuse to violence resulting in not only physical injury, but also emotional and psychological consequences. 

When people think about domestic violence, they are often referring to the physical abuse of an intimate partner or spouse. 

Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in assault is a crime, and the police have the authority to prosecute the abuser and protect the victims. 


Black's Law Dictionary: 

Sexual Abuse 

An illegal act or wrongful sex act, especially one performed against a minor by an adult. 


Unlawful sexual activity with a person without consent and usually by force or threat of injury. Rape includes sexual intercourse without consent after the perpetrator has substantially impaired his victim by administering, without the victim's knowledge or consent, drugs or intoxicants, for the purpose of preventing resistance. It also includes unlawful sexual intercourse when a person is unconscious. 

Sexual abuse is also a form of physical abuse. Any situation in which a person is forced to participate in unwanted sexual activity is sexual abuse. "Forced Sex" even by a spouse or intimate partner is an act of violence. 

Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling or blaming or shaming. Attempts to control behavior, intimidation and isolation are also forms of emotional abuse. Not all abusive relationships include violence. 

The aim of emotional abuse is to negatively affect the feelings and independence of the victim. 

Despite public perception, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser's loss of control of his / her behavior. Rather, it is a conscious, knowing decision made by the abuser to control the victim. 


Domestic abusers use a number of different means to exert their power and control over their victims: 

- making decisions for the victim and family, telling them what to do, and expecting complete compliance without questioning.

-cutting off ties to the outside world to increase the victim's dependence on the abuser. 

-trying to humiliate their victims, attempting to degrade them, and making them feel bad about themselves through insults and name calling. 

-using intimidation and threats against their victims to scare them into staying in the relationship and not going to the police. Such threats include to destroy property, display weapons or even threats of violent injury to the victim and their children. 


Abusers are experts at making excuses for their behavior. They will come up with any excuse they can think of, ranging from problems of their own childhood to even blaming their victims. 

The "cycle" of violence of domestic violence situations is often referred to as "battered woman syndrome" , consisting of a 3 step cycle - (1) the tension building stage, which may include verbal and mild physical abuse, to the (2) acute battering stage, which includes stronger verbal abuse, increased physical violence, and perhaps rape or other sexual abuse, followed by the (3) loving - contrition stage, which includes the abusers apologies, attentiveness, kindness, and gift giving, until the cycle starts all over again. 

In a recent poll, 92% of ALL WOMEN polled said that fighting domestic and sexual violence should be a top public policy priority. (Higher than any other issue) 

To learn more about the impact of domestic violence on women, children, homelessness, and society in general please visit our STATISTICS page:

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Syracuse, NY 13208

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