Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, includes a pattern of abusive behaviors used to gain or maintain power and control over one’s partner.

California law refers to domestic violence as abuse committed against an adult or minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship (PC 13700 (b)). "Abuse" means intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to himself or herself, or another.

Victims of domestic violence can include women and men of any age, race, religion, socio-economic status, education, or sexual orientation.

Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, stalking, or financial abuse. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, frighten, terrorize, injure or wound someone.


If You or Someone You Know Is Being Abused

If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 (TTY 1-800-787-3224)

Chat Online:

The hotline is answered by trained counselors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is confidential and referrals may be provided for services in every region of the County. Staff can provide support, education and safety planning. Multiple languages available.

San Diego County DA’s Office – Victim Advocates

Printable Brochures
Domestic Violence Brochure
Domestic Violence Strangulation Brochure

Domestic Violence Education
DV Booklet (English)
DV Booklet (Spanish)
DV Booklet (Arabic)

Local Domestic Violence Resources
DV Resource Guide - Victim version (English)
DV Resource Guide - Victim version (Spanish)

If You Are Interested in Learning More About Domestic Violence
45-minute interactive e-learning (no cost): Domestic Violence E-Learning

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse includes physical contact that results in injury. For example, hitting, punching, strangulation (“choking”), pushing, slapping, denial of needed medical care or other basic needs (food, housing, water, sleep). This may be by use of hand(s) or other weapons such as a firearm, knife, object (ex. bat, book, lamp, shoe, plate, etc.).

Emotional Abuse

Behavior that threatens, intimidates, undermines your self-worth or self-esteem, or controlling your freedom. For example, humiliation, controlling what you can or cannot do, deliberating making you feel diminished, isolating you from friends or family, denying you access to money or other basic resources, undermining your self-worth, threatening to harm or kill you, threatening or actual harm to your children, pets or other family members, constant criticism, use of the children against you.

Economic Abuse

Economic abuse may be taking place if your partner controls your money and other economic resources. For example, withholding money at will and forcing you to beg for the money, putting you on an "allowance," preventing you from finishing your education or from gaining employment, intentionally misusing family resources.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves any situation in which force is used to compel you to engage in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity against your will, whether or not the act is completed. For example, non-consensual forced physical contact, unwanted touching, sexual kissing, wanting you to dress in a sexual way that you are not comfortable, insulting you in sexual ways, calling you sexual names, forcing or manipulating you into to having sex or performing sexual acts, demanding sex when you are sick, tired or after beating you, ignoring your feelings about sex, hurting you with weapons or objects during sex.


Stalking involves willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harassing another person. Making credible threats with intent to place other person in reasonable fear for their safety or safety of their immediate family.

For information on Stalking, visit our Stalking Unit page.

Other San Diego Domestic Violence Resources

San Diego Domestic Violence Council
San Diego Superior Court - Restraining Order Clinic Information & Video
Victim Information and Notification Every Day

San Diego County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team (DVFRT)

The DVFRT a confidential multidisciplinary team that conducts in-depth retrospective case reviews of intimate partner-related fatalities that have occurred in San Diego County. The DVFRT seeks to identify system-based opportunities for improvements in violence prevention and intervention policies, procedures, and coordinated strategies, make recommendations for system change and raise public awareness about intimate partner violence.
San Diego Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team