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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.

Power and Control wheel

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.

What is Teen Dating Violence (TDV)?

Teen Dating Violence Statistics

Bullying vs. TDV

Impact of TDV

TDV Overview for Educators

TDV Resources

Responding to TDV for Educators

Creating Safe School Communities Free of TDV


Love is Respect

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

Reproductive coercion may include pressure to become pregnant or to terminate a pregnancy, dictating whether or not birth control is used and if so which type, birth control sabotage or the destruction of birth control methods, and limiting the access a victim has to reproductive education and health services. A National Crime Victimization Survey found that approximately one in five young women said they experienced pregnancy coercion and one in seven said they experienced active interference with contraception (also called birth control sabotage). Such control leads to a high rate of unintended pregnancies, abortions and sexually transmitted diseases. In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found girls who are victims of dating violence are 4 to 6 times more likely than non-abused girls to become pregnant.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is common in abusive relationships. Sexual abuse may include contact and non-contact forms of sexual activities including, but not limited to, physically forced sexual acts, sex with multiple partners or perpetrators, demeaning sexual acts, the viewing of pornography or participation in any activities uncomfortable to the victim.

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

Neither mental health illness nor substance use cause domestic violence. Individuals who suffer from a mental health issue and individuals who use and/or abuse substances are not all violent. In fact, there is an overwhelming amount of research to show that individuals in each group, including those who may be impacted by both co-occurring issues, are actually more vulnerable and likely to become victims of violence and abuse themselves.

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.

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health


Immigrant women are at a heightened risk for domestic violence, and their immigration status may only compound the difficulties of attempting to leave an abuser. Often, immigrant women lack the financial and emotional support necessary to leave an abusive relationship and may face further isolation due to cultural and language barriers. Abuse is a complex and significant problem for immigrant women.

Power and Control Wheel Tactics used with Immigrant Women


Perpetrators of domestic violence often use tactics of stalking to further their control over their victim. Stalking can be an indicator of escalating or more dangerous behavior by the perpetrator later on, particularly in cases when the victim has already made attempts to leave and/or end the relationship with the perpetrator. Seventy-five percent of victims killed by an intimate parter were stalked by that partner within the twelve months prior to their death. Stalking may include the following:

  •  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.


Firearms and domestic violence are a lethal mix. Victims of domestic violence are fives times more likely to be killed by their abusive partner when the perpetrator has access to a firearm. In addition to the lives lost, firearms are frequently used as weapons of intimidation that allow perpetrators to maintain their control over their victim. Perpetrators use firearms as a tool to coerce victims into staying in the abusive relationship, to prevent victims from leaving, to convince victims to return to the abusive relationship, as well as to threaten victims into dismissing restraining orders or criminal complaints.


The Facts on Guns and Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence and Firearms in New Jersey 


Often referred to as “choking”, strangulation is the obstruction of airways and/or blood vessels in the neck leading to asphyxia as a result of external pressure on the neck. An individual may strangle another with their hands, arms, with an object like a scarf, or with pressure put on the neck from an object or body part. It is not only potentially fatal, it is the ultimate sign of control over another. Strangulation is also an indicator of escalating high risk violence. Learn more about strangulation in  domestic violence cases including tools for assessment and interventions in domestic violence cases using the link below.

Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention 

Changes in Relationship Status

We hope victims and survivors of domestic violence get the support and resources they need in order to stay safe at every step of their relationship, particularly when they make the courageous decision to leave and seek outside help. While we assume leaving an abusive partner would make a victim safer, the reality is that a victim is in most danger when he or she leaves the abusive partner. The perpetrator has worked hard to establish and maintain their control over the victim through a variety of coercive and controlling ways. Many victims who leave their abuser are met with retaliation which may include harassment, stalking, threats and violence.

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.

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