Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors by which a person seeks power and control over their intimate partner or ex-partner. It can affect people of all races, income levels, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and ages. The effects of domestic violence can last long after the abuse has stopped. Domestic violence is also sometimes referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV) or dating abuse, and can include emotional, sexual, financial, technological, and physical abuse.
Domestic violence is lethal, common, and affects people of all cultures, religions, ages, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds, and income levels. More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Between two and four million women are physically abused each year in the United States. Of these, 2,000 women die of the injuries they suffer. In fiscal year 2011, 9,515 individuals called the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline for assistance with domestic violence issues. In 2011, 108,525 calls were made to the Philadelphia Police Department (PDD) for domestic violence – more than 300 calls per day. 6,256 domestic violence-related arrests were made.
In Philadelphia, four non-profit agencies provide services for victims/survivors of domestic violence and their children: Lutheran Settlement House – Bilingual Domestic Violence Program (BDVP); Congreso de Latinos Unidos – Latina Domestic Violence Program (LDVP); Women Against Abuse (WAA); and Women In Transition (WIT). All four agencies are contracted by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence to provide services that include a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, transitional housing, legal, medical, child and welfare advocacy, individual and group counseling, community education and training, as well as other supportive intervention and prevention services.