Domestic Abuse Information

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It is estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or are a friend or family member of a person being abuse, there are local services that can provide support. Please reach out for assistance.

Where to Get Help

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin is the statewide membership organization representing domestic abuse victim service providers and survivors. View a list of Wisconsin Domestic Abuse Providers.

The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence is a comprehensive source of information for those wanting to educate themselves and help others on the many issues related to domestic violence.

The Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Gender Based Violence is a national resource center on domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence in Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

The Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC) is an organization focused on the unique circumstances of members of the African Diaspora as they face issues related to domestic violence – including intimate partner violence, child abuse, elder maltreatment, and community violence.

The National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities, a project of Casa de Esperanza, is the national institute on domestic violence focusing on Latin@ communities.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is pattern of behavior used by one person in a relationship to control the other.

Domestic abuse can:

  • happen all the time or only once in a while
  • happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender
  • affect people of all socio-economic backgrounds and education levels
  • occur in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships
  • happen to partners who are married, living together, or dating

Domestic abuse is not caused by:

  • anger
  • mental health problems
  • alcohol or other drugs
  • other common excuses

It is caused by one person’s belief that they have the right to control their partner.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are in immediate danger call 911.

What are the Types of Domestic Abuse?


Physical Abuse

  • grabbing
  • pinching
  • shoving
  • slapping
  • hitting
  • hair pulling
  • biting
  • denying medical care
  • forcing alcohol and/or drug use

Sexual Abuse

  • coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact without consent
  • forcing sex after physical beating
  • attacks on sexual parts of the body
  • treating another in a sexually demeaning manner
  • forcing the victim/survivor to perform sexual acts on another person
  • forcing the victim/survivor to pose for sexually explicit photographs against his/her will

Economic Abuse

  • making or attempting to make a person financially dependent
  • maintaining total control over financial resources
  • withholding access to money
  • forbidding attendance at school or employment

Emotional Abuse

  • undermining a person's sense of self-worth, e.g., constant criticism, belittling one's abilities
  • name calling
  • damaging a partner's relationship with the children

Psychological Abuse

  • causing fear by intimidation
  • threatening physical harm to himself/herself, you, your family member, or your children
  • destruction of pets and property
  • stalking or cyberstalking you
  • playing "mind games" to make you doubt your sanity
  • forcing isolation from friends, family, school and/or work

Cultural and Identity Abuse

  • threatening to "out" your sexual orientation or gender identity, immigration status or other personal information to family, friends, co-workers, law enforcement, etc.
  • using your race, class, age, immigration status, religion, size, physical ability, language, and/or ethnicity against you in some way.
Find Domestic Abuse Services

Nobody ever deserves to be abused.

If you or a loved one feels abused, threatened, scared or unsafe in a relationship with a partner or a family member, a domestic abuse program can help you. You will reach an advocate who can talk with you about your situation, your safety, and the options available to you.

The Department of Children and Families contracts with local agencies in every county of the state to provide a variety of supportive services to victims and their children who are living with domestic abuse. Some programs also provide safe shelter.  All services are free and confidential.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a 24-hour, national, toll-free telephone hotline   The Hotline provides information and assistance to adult and youth victims of family violence, domestic violence, or dating violence, family and household members, and other persons such as domestic violence advocates, government officials, law enforcement agencies and the general public.  Call 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224 or (206) 518-9361 (Video Phone Only for Deaf Callers).

The National Dating Abuse Helpline is a national, 24-hour resource specifically designed for teens and young adults, accessible by phone or internet.  The Helpline offers real-time, one-on-one support to those involved in dating abuse relationships as well as concerned friends, parents, teachers, clergy, law enforcement and service providers.  Call 1-866-331-9474 (toll-free).

The Hmong Family Strengthening Helpline is a bilingual (Hmong-English) 24-hour helpline that provides support, contact, and referrals to anyone experiencing violence and abuse. Call 1-877-740-4292 (toll-free).

The Deaf Unity Helpline assists Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons experiencing violence and abuse. Contact Deaf Unity by email at or by text at (608) 466-2881. Deaf Unity staff and advocates will respond to your message as soon as possible between the hours of 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Friday. For assistance between 10 pm and 9 am, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline.