Learn About the Impact of Domestic & Dating Violence
Local and national statistics show that many people know someone experiencing abuse but don’t know how to help. NJCEDV believes that the first way you can help is the learn more about the issue of domestic violence and related issues. Then, you can start taking steps to help others and help to build safe environments in New Jersey.
What is domestic violence?
It is a pattern of intimidation, coercion and violence; the sum of all past acts and the promise of future acts that achieve power and control over a partner. This pattern often increases in frequency and severity over time. Battering can be verbal, physical, emotional, sexual or economic. An abused person can be of any age, race, class, culture, religion, occupation, and sexual orientation.
What is teen dating violence?
Relationship violence can start early in a young person’s life. In fact, intimate partner violence effects teenagers and young women ages 16-24, more than any other age group. One third of adolescents has experienced physical, emotional, sexual, and/or verbal abuse by a dating partner. The dynamics of power and control in a teen dating relationship can be just as dangerous as those found in an adult relationship. In fact, due to the age of the parties involved, teens may face barriers that prevent them from getting the support and resources they need to be safer in their relationships.
Dating abuse prevention education should begin early. Schools and communities have the opportunity to educate young people about the values found in healthy relationships, and to offer tools that challenge social norms that support domestic and dating violence: gender stereotypes, violence, power and privacy.
Rutgers Partnership & Fact Sheets
The fact sheets linked below serve as an excellent vehicle to initiate dialogue about this critical issue. As such, please feel welcome to utilize and distribute these materials as you see fit.
Loveisrespect’s mission is to engage, educate and empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships.
Highly-trained peer advocates offer support, information and advocacy to young people who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships. Free and confidential phone, live chat and texting services are available 24/7/365.
What about children who witness?
Every day children throughout New Jersey are exposed to domestic violence. Such exposure may include visibly witnessing the violence or abuse against their parent or caretaker, overhearing and listening to threatening and abusive behavior, as well as exposed to the responses by our communities to their families including law enforcement, child protection, the court system and advocates. While children can be negatively affected by domestic violence, both in the immediate and long-term, children respond to trauma in a variety of ways which may include self-protective as well as self-protective coping mechanisms and strategies for healing. Early interventions with child witnesses of domestic violence are crucial.
There are a variety of a programs that have been developed nationally and throughout the state to help children and their parents heal from domestic violence, as well as to learn new behaviors and strategies that help promote healthier relationships moving forward. In New Jersey, Peace: A Learned Solution (PALS) Program is a trauma informed program for child witnesses of domestic violence. This intensive treatment program model uses creative arts therapies for children (primarily aged three to twelve), who have been exposed to domestic violence, and their non-offending parent. PALS focuses on therapeutic treatment and supportive services as children and their families heal from the effects of domestic violence. The PALS program is available in the following 11 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, and Union.
Futures Without Violence is one national program that has developed programming, tools and models that can be adopted in communities to help address domestic violence in children’s lives, as well as to support communities in their prevention efforts to stop domestic violence before it starts.
What are the additional risk factors?
Every individual’s experience is unique and varies depending on the type of trauma and abuse experienced, the additional risk factors they are facing, as well as their own personal life and cultural experiences. The tabs below give more information on certain types of abuse, as well as circumstances that may make victims particularly vulnerable to experiencing escalating violence.
While not an exhaustive list, each tab provides additional information and resources to help you understand the risks posed by each of these areas.
If you are experiencing any of these risk factors contact your local domestic violence program for more information and support, or call the 24 hour NJ Statewide Hotline at (800) 572-SAFE (7233).
Pregnancy & Reproductive Coercion
While a common form of abuse and control in domestic violence cases, it is not common for such incidents to be reported, or assessed for by first responders and helping professionals. Perpetrators who sexually abuse their intimate partners, are more likely to engage in other high risk and dangerous abusive behaviors.
Mental Health and Substance Use
However, it is important that we understand the intersection of these issues with domestic violence for when they do co-occur it can be an indicator of high-risk and/or escalating violence in the relationship. In domestic violence cases, it can be the perpetrator or victim who uses substances or is impacted by a mental health illness, or it can be both individuals in the relationship impacted by one or both of these issues. When the perpetrator suffers from a mental illness or uses substances, their violence and abuse may be exacerbated where they may become more controlling, violent, and potentially more frequent in their violence. Trauma impacts individuals in a variety of ways and has the potential of having a tremendous impact on an individuals mental health. As a result some victims may find themselves suffering from any number of mental illness such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety.
Many survivors may find using substances (alcohol, prescription and/or illicit drugs) helps them cope with ongoing chronic abuse and trauma in their life. While this may help them to numb the physical and emotional impacts of their abuse, it may cause circumstances that can put the victim in more danger such as blacking out, to not recall their safety plan and steps they may take to protect themselves, as well as not want to reach out for help out of fear of being arrested or judged for using substances.
- Following you
- Constantly calling, texting, emailing and/or posting to your social media site
- Driving by your home
- Showing up at your home, school, work or other public places
- Checking and monitoring your phone or computer to view communications with other people, monitor whereabouts, or to view social networking accounts.
- Using the location services on your phone or mobile device to track your whereabouts
- Use technology to implant apps and/or software on your computer and/or phone to remotely monitor communications
- Use computer databases and searches for personal information
- Sifts through garbage for personal documents or information
- Asks family, friends and co-workers for information about you.
To get more information visit the Stalking Resource Center.
Changes in Relationship Status
Like leaving, changes in a relationship may also trigger an abusive partner into retaliating against the victim, increasing their control over him or her. Similar to leaving, filing for divorce, filing for a restraining order, moving out, or telling others about the end of the relationship can increase the victim’s danger. It is important that work with victims through these processes are sensitive to the increased danger their client may be in. In addition, when there children in common, child protection workers and family courts should consider the risks that leaving may place on victims and their children, as well as the impact new custody orders may have on a family’s safety.