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Domestic violence is a heartbreaking reality for millions of victims throughout the United States.  While the abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, or even financial, it all results from one person trying to control, or gain control, over another person regardless of age, sex, race, gender, or religion.  It is hard to know how often domestic violence actually occurs, because it often goes unreported.   

Below are U.S. domestic violence statistics comprised from reports by the National Institute of Justice, National Crime Victimization Surveys, Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention with reporting years from 2001 - 2008:

•   One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

•   Every 9 seconds, a woman in the United States is assaulted or beaten

•   Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury  to women - more than car accidents, muggings, and rape combined 

•   Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness domestic violence annually

•   Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a break up

•   Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work/year in the U.S. alone - the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs

•   The cost of intimate partner violence in the U.S. exceeds $5.8 billion per year: 
        -   $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services
        -   productivity losses exceeds $1. 8 billion annually.

•   Men who as children witnessed their parents domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of
     nonviolent parents.

•   On average, more than three women and one man are murdered every day in the U.S. by an intimate partner

The most important thing to remember is DON'T be a victim. Get an Order of Protection and find a safe place to go.


1.  Have your own plan.  Keep a personal "survival kit" at a separate location.  Include such items as medication, clothing, and
      legal documents.
2.  Leave quickly!  Do not stay around and argue or fight.  If you can't get out, call 9-1-1 immediately!
3. Tell someone that can help such as a friend, family member, clergy member or the police. You may need to file for an Order
     of Protection.
4. Follow through with your actions.  You and the aggressor will need assistance working things out.
5. Contact a support group, a shelter, legal aid, a hotline, or an advocacy service such as Lafayette House or the McDonald
      County Victim Advocate at 417-223-2378.
Visit the links below to learn more about what classifies as domestic violence, and what you can do to get help:

Missouri Bar Association  - learn the legal definition of domestic violence and what you can do if you are a victim

Missouri Attorney General's Office   - booklets on crime victims rights and protecting victims of domestic violence

Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence - find a shelter and other community resources

Victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and stalking who move can conceal their new addresses by applying with the Missouri Secretary of State's Safe at Home program.  This allows you to establish a post office box in Jefferson City.  The Secretary of State will receive al mail sent to you, then forward it to your actual address.  Contact the Secretary of State at or 1-866-509-1409.


WAIT!  Think just because you're not in an abusive relationship or don't think you know of someone who is, that domestic violence doesn't affect you?  Research shows that as many as half of domestic violence offenders commit other crimes outside of the home, and cause a problem for the entire community.  Children are our future and children who witness domestic violence are more likely to develop emotional, behavioral and psychological problems. Shame, depression, behavioral problems and trust issues can all be carried into adulthood and affect relationships, and impact emotional and mental health.    Plus, the victim's behavior may change to adapt to an adverse situation  and can affect everyone around them.  Be familiar with some of the more commons signs of domestic abuse so that you can help those around you that are hurting.  
General Warning Signs of Domestic Abuse
•  Go along with everything partner says and does

•  Checks in often with partner to report where they are and what they are doing

•  Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from partner

•  Talk about partner's temper, jealousy or possessiveness

Warning Signs of Physical Abuse

•  Afraid or anxious to please partner

•  Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of "accidents"

•  Frequently miss work, school or social occasions, without explanation

•  Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors

Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse

•  Rarely go out in public without  partner

•  Being restricted from seeing family and friends

•  Limited access to money, credit cards or the car

Warning Signs of Psychological Abuse

•  Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be very confident

•  Show  major personality changes (from out going to withdrawn)

•  Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal

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