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Every year, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner in the United States. Many of these cases are never reported to the police. In 2007, intimate partners committed 14% of all homicides in the U.S. The total estimated number of intimate partner homicide victims in 2007 was 2,340, including 1,640 females and 700 males.
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010

In Washington, the incidence of domestic violence had been decreasing, but from 2008-2009, it increased by 12%. In 2009, 30% of all homicides involved domestic violence, with the total number of domestic violence homicide victims being 62.
Crime in Washington 2009 Annual Report, Washington Association of Sherriff's and Police Chiefs

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is "a pattern of behavior in which one intimate partner uses physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation and emotional, sexual or economic abuse to control and change the behavior of the other partner."
WomensLaw.org, May, 2011

It's not just physical

The physical consequences of intimate partner violence are very serious. However, emotional and psychological consequences abound as well. For example, a woman with a history of experiencing domestic violence is more likely to display higher-risk behaviors, such as substance abuse, alcoholism and suicide attempts.

If you are in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1

Are you in an unhealthy relationship? How to stay safe:

If you are still in the relationship:

  • Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom), or rooms with weapons (kitchen).
  • Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.
  • Keep change with you at all times.
  • Memorize all important numbers.
  • Establish a "code word" or "sign" so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.
  • Think about what you will say to your partner if he/she becomes violent.

If you have recently left the relationship:

  • Change your phone number.
  • Screen calls.
  • Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
  • Change locks, if the batterer has a key.
  • Avoid staying alone.
  • Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
  • If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place.
  • Vary your routine.
  • Notify school and work contacts.
  • Call a shelter for battered women.

King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, May, 2011

How to help

If you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, it can feel like a helpless situation. However, there are important steps you can take to help and support them:

  • Believe your friend.
  • Listen and be supportive. Be there when you are needed.
  • Offer suggestions and ideas, not opinions. Don't try to make decisions for them.
  • Let them know that their feelings are OK and that it's not their fault.
  • Remember that change takes time and your friend is facing hard choices. If they decide to leave, it may be a long process.

King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, May, 2011

Protection Orders

You have the right to protect yourself from a person who is abusing you -- if you or your children are being abused, threatened or stalked, you can apply for a Protection Order. This involves filing a case in court and asking a judge to give an order protecting you from another person. Find out about different protection orders and how you can apply.

Resources

  • Domestic Abuse Women's Network (DAWN)
    Call their 24-hour crisis line at 425-656-STOP (7867)
    DAWN provides domestic violence assistance including a confidential shelter, training for advocates, children's programs and legal advocacy.

  • King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    A wealth of information about domestic violence issues and programs and services available in King County.

  • LifeWire
    Call their 24-hour crisis line at 425-746-1940 or 1-800-827-8840
    LifeWire offers services from shelter to counseling to training. Visit their site to learn more about local services and domestic violence prevention.

  • New Beginnings
    Call their 24-hour help line at 206-522-9472
    Provides shelter, advocacy and support for battered women, and those whose lives have been affected by domestic violence.

  • Washington state Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV)
    Call the WA State Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-562-6025
    Provides technical assistance, training, and advocacy support for agencies working to prevent domestic violence in Washington and resources for DV victims. 

  • Youth Eastside Services (YES)
    Call their helpline at 425-747-4937
    YES provides dating and domestic violence assistance to teens, parents, and community members in East King County through counseling, classes and support groups, and mentoring programs.