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What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence results in emotional trauma, physical injury, and sometimes death. Domestic violence may include not only the intimate partner and dating relationships, but the abuse of children and other family members, and the abuse generally escalates over a period of time.

How Big of a problem is Domestic Violence?


  • The Battered Women & Children’s Shelter rate of recidivism is 9.9% compared to the national rate of 28%
  • In 2017, The San Antonio Battered Women & Children’s Shelter served 56,002 women, children and men, a 17.8% increase from the previous year.
  • In Bexar County, 11 women were killed by a male intimate partner in 2016.
  • 77% of perpetrators killed their partners in a home.
  • 146 women were killed by a male intimate partner in 2016 in Texas. 
  • Two-thirds of all victims of abuse served at The Battered Women & Children’s Shelter are children.
  • The average daily cost of feeding, clothing, and sheltering a person for one night is $110.00
  • Men brought up in violent homes are 10 times more likely to abuse their wives
  • 75% of female victims of domestic violence grew up in violent homes
  • A victim’s decision to leave increases by 75% the risk of being killed by her abuser
  • 13 women die daily as victims of abuse by their partners in the USA.
  • Battering is the #1 crime and cause of injury to women in the US
  • In 2017, more officers were shot responding to domestic violence than any other type of firearm-related fatality, according to The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
  • From 1988 to 2016, 136 officers were killed while responding to domestic disturbances such as family arguments, FBI data show. By comparison, 80 were killed during drug-related arrest in the same period.
  • One in every three women in Texas is a victim of abuse, compared to one in ever four, nationally.​


Get Help

One of the most important things you can do before leaving an abusive relationship is to develop a safety plan. You should talk to a victim advocate who can help you fully consider safety issues, understand your legal rights, and identify community resources (e.g., shelters, sources of financial assistance, or food banks). Contact a Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. advocate for help.


The Battered Women and Children’s Shelter


  • 24-hour Crisis Intervention: You can call us for help any time of the day or night
  • Individual and Group Counseling for Women and Children
  • On-site Attorneys for Legal Assistance
  • On-site School for Children (Pre-K – Grade 12)
  • On-site Adult Education
  • Case Management Services
  • Transitional Housing
  • On-site Primary Medical and Dental Care
Help is available to callers 24 hours a day, 365 day a year.

If you or someone you know is afraid about something in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

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