Domestic violence is defined by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as “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, and emotional abuse.”National Coalition Against Domestic Violence,, “Most intimate partner victimizations are not reported to the police. Approximately one-fifth of all rapes, one-quarter of all physical assaults, and one-half of all stalkings perpetrated against female respondents by intimates were reported to the police.” Tjaden,P., Thoennes, N., The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Program, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ181867, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, 2000, pp.v, 49-51.

It is well recognized that child abuse and domestic violence go hand in hand. Each year, an estimated 3.3 million children in the U.S. are exposed to violence by family members against their mothers or female caretakers. 30-60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household. One study in North America found that children exposed to violence in the home were 15 times more likely to be physically and/or sexually assaulted than the national average. https//, citing Unicef, Behind Closed Doors – The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children. (2006). The Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida references the following domestic homicide impacts on innocent children: one study revealed that 27% of domestic homicide victims were children; and when children are killed during a domestic dispute, 90% are under age 10, and 56% are under age 2. https// Abusive partners use children as a means of controlling victims, threatening sole custody, death, kidnapping or other harm to children; 1 in 3 children who witness domestic violence are also child abuse victims. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (2015). Domestic Violence and Children. https// The U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect suggests that domestic violence may be the single major precursor to child abuse and neglect fatalities in this country.https//, citing Unicef, Behind Closed Doors – The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children. (2006).