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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, economic, and emotional/psychological abuse.

  • In 2020, Houston Area Women’s Center emergency hotline received 3,019 calls in April, and 4,249 calls in June. An increase of 1,230 calls. (HAWC, 2020)
  • The Harris County Sheriff’s experienced a 19% increase of family violence reports from March through June 2019, compared to the 1,128 reports in March through June 2020. (HAWC, 2020)
  • In 2019, Texas had 185 documented intimate partner homicides, Harris County accounted for the high number of fatalities, 35, out of all the 63 Texas Counties. (Texas Council on Family Violence, 2019 annual report)

Prevention

Understanding and having knowledge of the many types of abuse as well as the various ways that abuse appears, and interconnects can prepare you to respond to situations safely for yourself and others. Possible signs of abuse:

  • Physical Abuse – punch, slap, kick, bite, choke, use of weapons against you, driving dangerously with you in the car, preventing you from leaving, throwing objects at you, denying you necessary medical treatment.
  • Emotional and Verbal Abuse – constant name calling or criticizing, acting possessive, isolation from friends and family, monitoring your activities without your knowledge, gaslighting, humiliation, attempting to maintain sole control over what you wear or do, blame, accusations, damaging belongings.
  • Sexual Abuse – insults you in a sexual manner, forcing or manipulating you into sexual acts without consent, ignores your feelings, intentionally pass on a STD/STI. Sexual Coercion – reacting negatively if you say “no”, continuous pressure to give in after saying “no”, giving you drugs or alcohol to “loosen up”, implying you owe them something sexually for a gift, or action.
  • Financial Abuse – denying access to your money, closely monitored allowance, maxing out credit cards / open accounts in your name without permission, refusing to contribute in the household or provide money for necessities or shared expenses.
  • Digital Abuse – controlling who you can follow, what you can post, who you can talk to, sending toxic or threatening emails or texts, demanding passwords, checking your phone, using GPS to monitor and track location, impersonating you online to get you in trouble or embarrass you, making you feel like you can be separated from your phone due to angering them.
Domestic Violence Safety Awareness Tips - English
Domestic Violence Safety Awareness Tips - Spanish

 

Partners

  • Protective orders – free, valid for 2 years, can be obtained at
    • Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse – AVDA
    • Houston Volunteer Lawyers
    • Harris County District Attorney’s Office – Family Criminal Law Division
  • Houston Area Women’s Center – Houston Area Women’s Center has worked relentlessly to help survivors affected by domestic and sexual violence build lives free from the effects of violence.
  • Bay Area Turning Point – non-profit community based social service agency providing services to individuals impacted by family violence and sexual assault.
  • Mercy House – Helps individuals affected by domestic violence and sexual assault in their efforts to move forward with their lives. It provides shelter, counseling, and advocacy to support them in building lives free from the effects of violence.

Where to Report

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline available 24/7
    • Call or TTY @ 1-800-799-7233
    • If you are unable to speak safely, log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • Houston Area Women Center Hot Line
    • Domestic Violence Hotline: (713) 528-2121
      • TDD Line: 713-528-3625
    • Sexual Assault Hotline: (713) 528-RAPE (7273)
      • TDD Line: 713-528-3691
    • Crime Stoppers of Houston
      • 713-222-TIPS (8477)
      • Mobile App