What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is often mistaken as someone losing their temper or mutual fighting in a relationship. Domestic violence is NOT about getting angry or arguing - but it IS about power and control. It is a pattern of harmful behavior by one person intended to control another person within a romantic, intimate or family/household member relationship. People who experience domestic violence can be married or not married; heterosexual, gay or lesbian; living together, separated or dating; or relatives. Men, women and children of all ages, races and classes can be victims. Without intervention, domestic violence can get worse, and could end in death.

Forms of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can take many forms, some of which are illegal. It can happen all the time or once in a while. Some forms of domestic violence are:

Emotional or Verbal

Examples of emotional abuse can include insults, blaming, put downs, mind games and threats. Emotional abuse can be unpredictable, affect self-esteem, and make you doubt your own sense of reality.


Examples include isolating you from family and friends, controlling your money, keeping you from getting a job or going to school, controlling or monitoring what you do and where you go, or destroying your property.


Physical abuse is any hurtful, intimidating or offensive touching or contact. It can involve grabbing, pushing, shoving or hitting, and can escalate to more serious injuries or death.


Sexual abuse can involve degrading comments, unwanted touching, or forced sex.


Sue Rahr, Interim Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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The Seattle Police Department (SPD) prevents crime, enforces laws, and supports quality public safety by delivering respectful, professional, and dependable police services. SPD operates within a framework that divides the city into five geographical areas called "precincts".