Domestic Violence

It Can Be Physical. It Can Be Emotional. It Can Be Sexual.

Domestic violence is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, psychological attacks as well as economic threats that adults or adolescents use to control their intimate partners.

Who is an Abuser?

Abusers can be charming and pleasant people when you first meet them. They may continue to be this way in public, while being abusive when you are alone. There is no sure way to identify a batterer. The following are some warning signs. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may have been abused.

Is your partner very jealous?
Does your partner want to know where you are every minute?
Does your partner drive away your friends and family?
Does your partner have extreme emotional highs and lows?
Is your partner cruel to animals?
Has your partner hit a former partner?
Does your partner believe you belong to him/her?
Are you afraid of your partner when he/she’s angry? Does your partner say he/she can’t help losing his/her temper?
Did your partner grow up in a violent family?

Help is Available

There are more than 40 domestic violence programs located in communities throughout the state. Look at the Michigan
Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence website at for domestic violence program information in or near your community. These programs help families affected by domestic violence, provide education and training on domestic violence, and work with the criminal justice, legal, medical, public and mental health, and social service agencies to address domestic violence in their community. Their services to victims are free.

Options to Consider

Although a batterer is the only one who can choose to stop violent behavior, there are some steps you can take to help you protect yourself and your children.

Call 911 if you’re in immediate danger. If you don’t have a phone, try to arrange a signal with neighbors so that they can call police. Michigan law requires police to investigate.

If you've been injured, go to an emergency room, urgent care unit or your doctor. Put together an emergency kit of important documents you can take if you need to leave suddenly. If possible, consider taking ID and other documents such as: driver’s license, state ID card, custody papers, Department of Human Services (DHS) identification - any pictures of your bruises or injuries and any papers you think you may need.

Communication Helps

Talk to somebody you trust: a friend, relative or someone from your job or faith community.

Call a domestic violence program. They provide 24-hour crisis intervention services. They can provide information about domestic violence, your legal options, including prosecution or how to obtain a personal protection order. They offer counseling and support groups. They can help you develop a plan to keep you and your family safe in your area.

You’re the expert about your own life. Don’t let anyone talk you into doing something that is not right or safe for you.

You and Your Children Have the Right to be Safe

Making a safety plan…

It is important to know that violence may get worse when you try to leave or show signs of independence.

  • If possible, try to get out or get help.
  • Who can you call in the event of a crisis? Can you signal the neighbors? Are you comfortable calling the police?
  • Consider the fastest escape routes from wherever you are (home, work, car, shopping mall)
  • Consider talking with your children about their safety plan.
  • Stalking is illegal and may be dangerous. Consider calling the police if you or your children are being stalked.

Trust your own instincts when trying to stay safe.

Call For Help

If you or someone you know is frightened about something in your relationship, or to find out more information about domestic violence programs or counseling, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799 SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 140 languages through interpreter services. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with information about the domestic violence program in your area. It’s confidential and free.