"That was my biggest thing, like, oh my god, it was like an awakening thing. I’m not crazy, I really am being abused, you know? Um, there’s somebody who does believe, there’s somebody who does believe who’s an expert in the area, you know? So it almost was like this enlightening thing. I finally had one place I could go and talk to someone.


According to the Compass Center for Women and Families, domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, relational violence, and dating abuse, is a pattern of intentionally violent or controlling behavior used by a person against a family member or intimate partner to gain and maintain power and control over that person, during and/or after the relationship. Family Violence does not discriminate, effecting people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, religions, education levels, economic statuses, cultures, economic status, and more.

There is also no area of a person’s life that is fully protected from their abuser. Some of the forms of abuse Victims who work with MSCFV have experienced include actual or threats of:

Physical Abuse

  • Hitting, slapping, shoving
  • Refusing medicine or access to medical care
  • Throwing or Breaking Items to intimidate
  • Strangulation
  • Denial of food
  • Harm to children and/or pets

Mental/Emotional Abuse

  • Stalking
  • Gaslighting (blaming victim)
  • Shaming
  • Jealousy
  • Belittling and Name Calling

Sexual Abuse

  • Forced intimacy of any kind
  • Being injured during intimacy
  • Refusing access to or usage of birth control
  • Sex Trafficking

Economic Abuse

  • Forced Debt
  • Theft of money
  • Denied access to financial resources
  • Workforce Interruptions (not allowing victims to work, hurting victims so they can’t work, stalking victim at work, …)

Technology Abuse

  • Location Tracking (phones, GPS trackers on cars, …)
  • Monitoring of calls and texts
  • Phishing (abusers sending texts pretending to be someone else)
  • Cancel Culture (convincing others on line to ignore victim, unfriend them, deny their virtual existence)
  • Cyber Stalking and Assaults (attacking the character of the victim through social media)


  • Denying access to vehicles
  • Taking away computer and phones
  • Convincing others to ‘unfriend’ on social media
  • Preventing victims from seeing family and friends
  • Not allowing employment

With all these possible types of abuse, how do you know if your relationship is safe and healthy? How do you know if someone you know is experiencing abuse? The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence created this online survey to help people consider their personal situations.

If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, MSCFV can help. Call our hotline anytime at 1-800-927-4673 or click the chat button on this website.

For more information on how MSCFV can help, visit the Our Services and Our Results pages.

For more information on the different types of abuse, visit https://www.womenslaw.org/about-abuse/forms-abuse. For more information on the legal definitions of abuse, check out this explanation from WomensLaw.org.