Domestic Violence

Domestic violence as defined by ORS 135.230 (also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence) is a pattern of abusive behaviors by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation.

In Oregon, domestic violence means abuse between family or household members (spouses, former spouses, adult persons related by blood or marriage, persons cohabiting with each other, persons who have cohabited with each other or who have been involved in a sexually intimate relationship, unmarried parents of a minor child).

Domestic violence can happen to anyone: all ages, races, religions, educational backgrounds, income levels, and in every part of the county. Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions, or threats that influence another person.

Abusive behaviors are a socially learned behavior and may begin in a physically nonviolent way; such as neglect, which can include not allowing the victim access to basic needs (food, shelter, hygiene items); not allowing the victim to sleep; or withholding physical intimacy as a way to control the victim. This pattern of behavior is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

The District Attorney's Office is responsible for prosecuting domestic violence felony and misdemeanor cases and violations of Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining orders that have been reported to law enforcement.


Some Warning Signs of an Abuser

Charm: Abusers can be very charming. In the beginning, they may seem to be Prince Charming or a Knight in Shining Armor. They can be very engaging, thoughtful, considerate and charismatic. They may use that charm to gain very personal information and use that information later to their advantage.

Isolation: Abusers may isolate their victims by moving the victim from friends, family and support system (often hundreds of miles); moving frequently in the same area and/or relocating to a rural area. Social isolation by having the victim spend time with them and not their family, friends or co-workers. The abuser may isolate the victim from any person who is a support.  They dictate whom the victim can talk to; and tells the victim they cannot have contact with friends or family.

Jealousy: Jealousy can also be a tool abusers use to control the victim. For example the abuser constantly accuses the victim of having affairs. 

Emotional Abuse: Abusers may blame the victim for the abuser's violence, put the victim down, call the victim names and make threats. Over time, a victim may blame themselves for the violence. For some survivors of domestic violence, the emotional abuse may be more difficult to heal from than the physical abuse.

Control: In time, the abuser may attempt to control every aspect of the victim's life: where the victim goes, what the victim wears, who the victim talks to and so on. They may control the money and access to money. Abusers may appear to go into a rage and act out of control. However, they often are very much in control of their behavior. For instance they do not batter other individuals - the boss who does not give them time off or the gas station attendant that spills gas down the side of their car.

Children who witness (see, hear, perceive) domestic violence often tend to copy the behavior of their parents. That behavior can be the abusive behavior or the behavior of the victim (violence is expected and tolerated).  Children in homes where there is domestic violence are at a higher risk of also being abused, physically, emotionally and/or sexually.

There are resources available to assist you if you believe you are the victim of domestic violence or know someone who is a victim of domestic violence.  See the links section on this page for a list of some resources or contact law enforcement or victims' assistance. 


For more information on restraining orders see Protective Orders.