While not an exhaustive list, we hope the resources below can provide you with a foundation on establishing the definition of domestic violence as well as crafting some ideas of what abuse might look like for folks experiencing it.


Domestic violence (DV) is defined not by individual acts of violence, but by a PATTERN OF INTENTIONAL BEHAVIOR used by one person to MAINTAIN POWER AND CONTROL over another.  Domestic violence occurs between people in relationships. This includes, but is not limited to current or former partners,  between the elderly and their caretakers, parents, children and/or relatives, sex workers and their pimps or clients, as well as survivors of stalking or trafficking. DV can to anyone regardless of ethnic or cultural background, socioeconomic status, education level, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability or age.

Domestic violence is NOT CAUSED by illness (mental or physical), genetics, alcohol or drugs, anger, stress, behavior of the survivor, or relationship problems. While these factors may exacerbate abusive behaviors and/or increase lethality, they do not CAUSE the abuse. Domestic violence is a choice made by the person using abuse to sustain power and control over their partner.


Although commonly presented as such by the media, domestic violence does not always take the form of severe physical abuse. Many times, survivors think that just because their partner is not hitting them, that they are not a survivor of domestic violence. By knowing the many tactics abusive people use to gain control of their partner(s), it may assist you in understanding the numerous ways domestic violence may show up in an abusive relationship.

  • Forms of Abuse –  These lists offer up examples of different types of violence.
  • Power & Control WheelExpanded Power & Control Wheel – Tactics used to gain and maintain power and control over another manifest in many ways. The Power & Control Wheel may help to conceptualize some ways this may show up in abusive relationships. The expanded Power & Control Wheel may help to show how these behaviors are reinforced by larger systems and social structures.
  • Are You Abused or At Risk for Abuse? – Be aware of potential red flags in a relationship. This list may help you identify concerning characteristics & behaviors in a partner/relationship

Healthy Relationships

Everyone is deserving of a mutually loving and fulfilling relationship. Here is a wheel that holds some key examples of what we look for when we’re talking about healthy relationships.unnamed Materials 

  • Personal Safety Plan-Feb ’21– We respect that everybody moves at a pace that works best for them.  Not everyone may be ready to leave their abusive relationships for a variety of reasons. We honor each survivor’s diverse experience and process. This brochure outlines some ways that may help you stay safer whether you are currently experiencing violence or are trying to leave.

Other resources:

COVID-19 Posts:


SF Collaborative Partners:

Resources for Folks Using Abuse: 

National Hotlines:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) : 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

For Donors:

IRS tax exception information and 990’s