Ending the Generational Cycle of  Abuse
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Domestic Abuse

Facts and Statistics of domestic abuseFacts and Statistics:
   How common is domestic violence?
   Who is most at risk?

signs of domestic abuseSigns of Abuse:
   What are the signs of domestic abuse?
   Are you abused?
   Do you know somebody who is?

your rights of domestic abuseYour rights:
   What rights do you have?
   Do you know your legal options? 


Facts and Statistics

Recent statistics from Vermont concerning domestic violence:

Since the crime rate in Vermont (VT) is far below that in other states, many see VT as one of the safest places to live in this country. This is not true for all who live here.
The VT Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission states that in 2008, "73% of all Vermont homicides were domestic violence related."
Of the 15 adult homicides that occurred, 11 were domestic violence related. There were 5 homicides of children. 7 children witnessed the adults being murdered.
Recently in one corner of Orange County, VT, population--29,000, a woman was beaten and had industrial strength lye poured over her body by her estranged husband.
In another corner of the same county, a twelve year-old girl was raped and murdered by her uncle who was a registered sex offender.

Please help Have Justice - Will Travel help victims of violence.

Estimates from the Department of Justice:

  • During each year, women were the victims of more than 4.5-million violent crimes, including approximately 500,000 rapes or other sexual assaults.
  • In 29% of the violent crimes against women by lone offenders the perpetrators were intimates--husbands, former husbands, boyfriends, or former boyfriends.
  • A woman is beaten every 15 seconds.
  • About a fifth of the lone-offender attacks against women involved a weapon.
Statistics on the frequency of domestic violence:
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the united States -- more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (From the uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation.)
  • Domestic abuse occurs in every socioeconomic and educational level, racial and ethnic group, religion, lifestyle and age group. (Family Violence Prevention Fund.)
  • One in four pregnant women have a history of partner violence. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 1992.
  • Nationally, 50 percent of all homeless women and children are on the streets because of violence in the home. (Senator Joseph Biden, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Violence Against Women: Victims of the System, 1991.)
Facts about injury and domestic violence:
  • Battered women are more likely to suffer miscarriages and to give birth to babies with low birth weights. (Surgeon General, United States, 1992.)
  • Battered women are often severely injured -- 22 to 35 percent of women who visit medical emergency rooms are there for injuries related to ongoing partner abuse. (David Adams, "Identifying the Assaultive Husband in Court: You be the Judge." Boston Bar Journal, 33-4, July/August 1989.)
  • The annual medical expenses resulting from domestic violence every year in the United States is around $4,000,000,000. (Blue Cross/Blue Shield.)
  • 92% of women who were physically abused by their partners did not discuss these incidents with their physicians. 57% did not discuss the incidents with anyone.
  • Women who leave their batterers are at a 75% greater risk of being killed by the batterer than those who stay. (Barbara Hart, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1988.)
How domestic violence affects children:
  • In homes where domestic violence occurs, fear, instability, and confusion replace the love, comfort, and nurturing that children need. These children live in constant fear of physical harm from the person who is supposed to care for and protect them.
  • A Florida study stated that 27% of domestic violence victims in that state were children. At the ages of their deaths, 90% of these children were under age 10, 56% were under age 2.
  • Domestic violence results in serious trauma to children that affects them throughout their lives and carries into the next generation. (Family Violence Prevention Fund.)
Other facts:
  • There are nearly three times as many animal shelters in the United States as there are shelters for battered women and their children. (Senate Judiciary Hearings, Violence Against Women Act, 1990.)
  • Over two-thirds of violent victimizations against women were committed by someone known to them: 31% of female victims reported that the offender was a stranger. Approximately 28% were intimates such as husbands or boyfriends, 35% were acquaintances, and the remaining 5% were other relatives. (In contrast, victimizations by intimates and other relatives accounted for only 5% of all violent victimizations against men. Men were significantly more likely to have been victimized by acquaintances (50%) or strangers (44%) than by intimates or other relatives.) (Ronet Bachman Ph.D., U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Violence Against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report," January 1994, p. 1.)
  • Almost 6 times as many women victimized by intimates (18%) as those victimized by strangers (3%) did not report their violent victimization to police because they feared reprisal from the offender. (Ronet Bachman Ph.D., ibid.)

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Signs of Abuse

Some Characteristics of an Abusive Relationship:

In the beginning of the relationship, jealousy feels like love and concern. As time passes, these characteristics may look more like entitlement and possession. (For example, false accusations of sexual behaviors with others.) Jealous behavior begins to isolates victims who then stop seeing family members and/or friends in order to make their partner happy.
There is a strong connection between violence and alcohol, but these are two separate issues and must be worked on separately. Many times an abuser uses substance abuse to excuse offensive and harmful behavior.
Some abusers believe in rigid, stereotypical gender roles and use tradition and culture to justify their abuse. There is a sense of entitlement that the abuser is "the boss" and is "in charge" of the relationship.
Abusers may have a history of using force or violence to solve problems. They may display a quick temper, overreact to little problems and frustrations of everyday life, throw objects, punch walls, be cruel to animals, and have a criminal record for violence.
Abusers tend to grow up in families where violence is normal behavior. The abuser may have a history of violence prior to the current relationship or may have a criminal record for violence.

Is This You?

Physical Abuse

Does your partner:

  • Slap, shove, choke or kick you or your children?
  • Threaten or hurt you with a weapon?
  • Throw objects at or restrain you?
  • Throw you out of the house?
  • Hurt you when you're sick or pregnant? Emotional Abuse?

Emotional Abuse
  • Does your partner do things to shame or ridicule you, like saying:
    • You're fat, ugly, lazy, etc.
    • You never do anything right.
    • You're too stupid to get a job.
    • You will never be a fit parent.
  • Threaten to hurt your child or pet?
  • Forbid you to get a job?
  • Not let you see your family, friends, or neighbors?
  • Take your keys or damage your car?
  • Take or destroy important papers?
  • Take your money?

Sexual Abuse

Does your partner:

  • Force you to have sex?

  • Force you to have sex with others?

  • Accuse you have having sex with others?

  • Criticize your sexual performance?

  • Become violent if you do not want to have sex?

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Your Rights

You Have the Right to Be Safe

It is against the law in every state in the United States to physically hurt another person, no matter how the two are related. Every victim of domestic abuse has a right to be protected under the law. There are two kinds of courts that handle domestic violence: civil court and criminal court.

Civil Court

In civil court you can file for a protective order. This is a court order that prohibits violence. One of the things the Court can order is that no contact occur between the victim and the abuser. Criminal Court

Criminal Court

The police may arrest anyone who commits a crime. The State Prosecutor brings criminal charges against those who commit crimes. If an abuser is convicted of a crime, among other possibilites, they can be sentenced to jail, probation, or payment of a fine.

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