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Dating/Intimate Partner Abuse

What is Dating Partner Abuse?

Domestic violence – dating partner abuse, intimate partner violence, dating abuse, and domestic abuse — while this type of violence comes with many names, they all have something in common. They are about power and control-about one person having the power and control over another. Sometimes the abuse takes place in the context of a romantic relationship and sometimes it takes place in a familial relationship.

parter-abuseFor many people this type of abuse starts out very slowly; it simply feels like something is wrong in your relationship. It’s important to realize that it’s not always physical in the beginning, and even when it is physical, it seldom starts with broken bones. However, whether physical violence happens once a week, or once a year, it’s still violence and doesn’t belong in a healthy relationship.

Domestic violence affects men, women, teen girls and boys, in both a heterosexual and homosexual relationships. Domestic violence may consist of one or more forms, including emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, or economic abuse and is defined as one person in an intimate relationship using any means to control the other.

If you would like a confidential ear to help you evaluate a situation in your relationship, call SafeNet (814) 455-1774 or the crisis hotline (814) 454-8161.


  • Types of domestic abuse include physical, verbal (also called emotional, mental, or psychological abuse), sexual, and economic/financial. Stalking and cyber-stalking are also forms of domestic violence.
  • Physical violence includes assault of any kind, ranging from pinching or pushing to choking, shooting, stabbing, and murder.
  • Verbal, emotional, mental, or psychological abuse is described as using words to criticize, demean, or otherwise decrease the confidence of the victim.
  • Sexual abuse refers to any behavior that uses sex as the weapon for power and control or where sex is used to demean the victim. It can sometimes be used to intimidate the victim into engaging in unsafe sex or sexual practices in which he or she does not want to participate.
  • Economic or financial abuse is described as limiting the victim’s financial freedom or security.
  • Abusive people often use multiple forms of abuse to break down the victim’s self-esteem, keeping them in the abusive situation.


  • Domestic violence is a major public-health problem in that it affects millions of people and often results in physical and emotional injuries and even deaths. One in three women can expect to be the victim of intimate partner violence sometime in their lifetime. About 25% of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQI) individuals are victims of intimate partner abuse, just as often as are heterosexual women.


  • There tends to be a cycle of behavior, known as the cycle of violence, in abusive adult relationships. That cycle includes the tension-building, explosive, and tranquility/honeymoon stages. The tension-building stage is described as the phase of the abusive relationship in which the abuser tends to engage in lower-level abuse, like pushing, insulting, and escalating demands for control. Simultaneously, the victim of abuse tends to try to appease the abuser in an effort to avoid worsening of the abuse. Acts of abuse escalate to a severe level during the explosive stage of intimate partner violence, manifesting as the most overt and serious acts of abuse and control. This includes slapping, punching, rape, or inhibiting the movements of the victim. The tranquility or honeymoon stage of the cycle of domestic violence tends to immediately follow the overt acts of aggression of the explosive stage and is usually characterized by the abuser seeming to be quite remorseful and apologetic for the abuse, making promises that it will never happen again and showering the victim with affection.

For additional information on violence in partner/familial relationships contact SafeNet at (814) 455-1774 or the crisis hotline at (814) 454-8161.

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For Immediate Help Call 911