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What is Domestic Violence?

The Department of Justice defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior used by one partner to gain or maintain power over another.  These relationships can be between spouses/intimate partners, parent(s) and child(ren), siblings and even roommates/housemates.  The abusive behavior can be physical, emotional and psychological and often times a combination of all three.  Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, educational background or socioeconomic status.

What is Intimate Partner Violence?

The CDC defines, intimate partner violence (IPV) is violence as "physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression (including coercive tactics) by a current or former intimate partner (i.e., spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, dating partner, or ongoing sexual partner)."  Intimate partners do not have to be cohabitating and like domestic violence, intimate partner violence can happen to anyone regardless of their background. 

The Impact of This Violence is Substantial.

The impact of both domestic violence and IVP can result in physical injury, trauma and even death.  According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, those who survive "can experience a wide variety of health issues related to abuse, including (but not limited to): injuries, miscarriage, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), sexually transmitted infections/diseases, stress-related symptoms, and more."  

It's impact is wide spread.  Affecting those who witness or intervene: children/other family members, friends and other people in the community.  It can be physically, emotionally/mentally draining and at times creates a financial strain.  Exposure to violence, especially for an extended amount of time normalizes the behavior and a cycle of violence can develop.  This is extremely detrimental to children who can easily adopt/accept these behaviors.  

Domestic Violence and IPV is Preventable

Education is the best way to prevent both domestic violence and IPV. 

Abuse is a learned behavior.  Although there are many places an individual can learn this behavior: bearing witness within their own families, their social group, popular culture, etc.  Exposure to abuse/violence will not make you abusive/violent.  There are many individuals who are survivors or witnesses of domestic/IPV and use their own experience to end violence.  To inflict violence is a strategic choice to create a "desired power dynamic."  

Understanding what a healthy relationship is will help identify abuse.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides a simple visual aid to explain relationships in a spectrum ranging from healthy, to unhealthy and abusive.  Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence uses the wheel diagram from Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth to help compare relationships based on power and control versus equality.  In the Power and Control wheel, the outer ring is overt abusive behavior while the inner ring provides examples of more subtle actions or attitudes that keep the abused person in the relationship.  

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Website :
Call: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Text: "START" to 88788

Online live chat feature available

Phone, Text and Chat are available 24/7


The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a phone/text/chat service for people that are involved in situations of domestic violence/intimate partner violence.  The person reaching out can be the recipient of abuse, the perpetrator of abuse, or concerned friends/family members.  The hotline, whether via phone, text or chat will connect you to an advocate.  All correspondences are confidential and anonymous.  Advocates are available to listen and provide necessary support.  Some of the things advocates can provide are helping identify unhealthy behaviors in your relationship, provide alternative healthy behaviors, help locate and navigate different local support services.  Advocates can also help you learn more about Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs (BIPPS).  It is not uncommon for people to contact the Nation Domestic Violence Hotline specifically for a BIPPS referral because of a court order. 

What to Expect

First and foremost, as a safety precaution, the website has an emergency exit button always present in case you are concerned someone may see what you are viewing on your computer/mobile device.  The website also offers the capability to view all the content in Spanish.
The website has a wide range of resources and is easy to navigate.  There are lots of educational resources that explain what abuse is, how to identify abuse and why it occurs.  These resources are helpful to shed light and destigmatize reaching out for help.  There are some educational components that are interactive, like creating a safety plan.  The website can also help the user locate support services in their area as well as services specifically for deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing and Native American Services.  There is also specific sources for those supporting others who are in an abusive relationship as well as resources for perpetrators of abuse that would like to change. 


When calling the hotline, you may have to wait until an advocate is available to speak with you.  This wait could take up to 15 minutes.  Once connected the advocate is there to listen and provide support/help you get connected with any help you may need.  You can also request support in the language of your choice through their Language Line,  Callers can speak with an advocate in over 140 languages with the help of a trained interpreter.  

Through text or chat you will initially start the correspondence with a bot.  It will ask several intake questions, such as name, age, location before being connected to a live advocate.  Upon completion of answering the handful of intake questions it will provide the estimated wait time for the next available advocate.  Wait times will vary but are comparable to the phoneline.  On the live chat, there is an emergency exit site and exit chat button within the chat window so that you can quickly exit if necessary. 

Resources & Services


Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence

Website :

Available 24/7
Online Chat option available through SAFECHAT (hours will vary).


Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence is the only stand-alone domestic violence agency in Santa Clara County.  The organization' started over 50 year ago by Bea Robinson Mendez.  She was frustrated in the lack of service available to survivors of domestic violence.  With help from her friends, she converted a garage into a shelter and established a hotline.  From there the organization has grown to be the largest provide of supportive services for those impacted by domestic violence.  Some of the services they provide are crisis counseling, support groups, legal support, housing solutions and employment services.  

What to Expect

The website has an emergency exit button always present in case you are concerned someone may see what you are viewing on your computer/mobile device.  The website also offers the capability to view all the content in Spanish and Vietnamese.
There are educational resources explaining what domestic violence as well as webinars.  Previous webinars have been recorded and available to view on the site.  You can also request a speaker to talk at your organization. If you are looking to get assistance, their "Get Help" tab provides easy navigation
 to all their resources. 


The hotline is 24/7 and discussions are confidential.  Santa Clara county has a diverse population, therefore they have advocates that speak all different languages. The majority of the advocates on the hotline are bilingual, speaking English and Spanish.  If you prefer to or are more comfortable expressing yourself in another language, express that to the advocate so they can pair you up with an appropriate team member.  There are a few intake questions, but the caller does not have to answer those questions if they are not comfortable.  Advocates are here to provide a safe zone to talk about what is happening.   They can help the caller come up with a safety plan or make recommendations to services that are available at Next Door Solutions, i.e. housing/shelters, legal help or support groups.  

Their crisis chat line is through SAFE CHAT.   Correspondence are confidential but there is a mandate reporter notice at the beginning of the chat. There are several intake questions, such as name, age, zip code, etc. before being connected to a live advocate.  Upon completion of answering the handful of intake questions you will be connected to the next available advocate.  When the advocate connects to the chat they will first ask if you are in a safe place to talk.  They will reiterate that the chat line is not a service provide prior to proceeding with the chat. 

YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley

Website :
Call: 1-800-572-2782

Available 24/7
Online Chat option available through SAFECHAT (hours will vary).


The YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley has served the bay area community for over 140 years and was one of the first multi-service agencies focusing on three main areas: healing/prevention of trauma from violence, housing solutions for survivors of violence and aiding in obtaining economic security through educational opportunities. The YWCA Golden Gate has a 24/7 crisis hotline and chat is available via SAFE CHAT.  They also have various therapy services from individual, to youth & family, to group and support services for housing.  The YWCA sees the crux of ending violence is empowerment and independence.  They provide employment services like job training/resources, employment placement and affordable quality childcare.  They are big advocates of education and awareness.  Providing speakers/educators on all various trauma/violence related topics. The YWCA also works to move legislation for the equity of those in their community. 

Learn More 

CDC - Violence Prevention 

"Violence is an urgent public health problem. From infants to the elderly, it affects people in all stages of life and can lead to a lifetime of physical, emotional, and economic problems. CDC is committed to preventing violence so that everyone can be safe and healthy."

​Quick Links

  • Intimate Partner Violence

  • Child Abuse & Neglect 

  • Sexual Violence 

Next Door Solutions to Domesitc Violence

"Since 1971, NDS has helped thousands of survivors and families move out of crisis and violence and into safety, stability and self-sufficiency."

​Quick Links

  • What is Domestic Violence 

  • Power and Control Relationship Wheel Diagram 

  • Equality Relationship Wheel Diagram 

  • Housing / Shelter Resources 

National Domestic Violence Hotline

"Everyone deserves healthy relationships."

​Quick Links

  • Locate Local Resources 

  • Create a Safety Plan 

  • Help for Abusive Partners

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