An intimate relationship dispute can contain enough stressful issues of its own, but when domestic violence is involved, the situation can become all the more serious. Pennsylvania has strengthened its domestic violence laws in recent years; however, reports of physical abuse are, unfortunately, still a common occurrence.
The term domestic violence, as defined by the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, is a part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. Domestic violence constitutes as any willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault and other abusive behavior. The Coalition reports that in one day in Pennsylvania, domestic violence programs served 2,498 victims and survivors, and 252 requests for domestic violence services were unmet. Domestic violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime.
Women Against Abuse, Pennsylvania's leading domestic violence advocate and service provider, provides a list of types of domestic violence. The organization acknowledges that while domestic violence can occur in many different forms, it often follows an escalating pattern in which the abuse worsens over time. Women Against Abuse lists the various types of oppression systems that abusive partners may use:
- Sexual abuse
- Use of children
- Financial abuse
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
These types of abuse are only a few of many, as other factors of domestic abuse can consist of immigration status, in which an abusive partner may destroy immigration papers or prevent an individual from learning English, and technological abuse, in which abusive individuals may hack their partner's email or monitor social media use. Regardless of the type of abuse, domestic violence is a crime and can affect people of all cultures, religions, age, educational background and income levels.