Domestic Violence Involves More Than Physical Contact
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but many people are not aware that domestic violence involves more than physical contact.
In 2016, there were nearly 29,000 calls to state and local domestic abuse hotlines in Arizona.
Shelly Ward is the Victim Services Administrator at the Mesa Family Advocacy Center, a division of the Mesa Police Department. She said domestic violence occurs when one partner in an intimate relationship exhibits a pattern of coercive behavior.
According to Ward, that behavior often may not involve physical harm. “It can be emotional. It can be financial abuse — one person using their ability to manage all of the finances. It could be verbal abuse. Children are often used in cases to get the other person really to do what you want them to do. 'So, if you don’t do what I want you to do, I’m going to take the children and I’m going to leave the country and you’ll never see them again.'”
Ward also said coercive behavior is not confined to couples who are married or dating, but can also involve college roommates, extended family members living in a household, or even animal abuse.