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What is domestic violence

and abuse?

Domestic violence and abuse isn't just physical. Abuse can be psychological, emotional and economic. Whenever someone in a relationship uses violence or threatens to use violence, it is abuse.

If you or someone you know wants to know more about whether the situation they are in might be abusive or violent, call one of the hotlines below.

Our Video

We want this video to show people that they shouldn't be afraid to raise their voice when they see domestic violence. To view the video, go here. These scenarios are dramatic representations of potential domestic violence and abuse situations.

Hotlines to Call for Help

  • The National Center for Victims of Crime (Teen Victim Project) 1-800-FYI-CALL
  • Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-562-6025
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
  • National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (NTDAH) 1-866-331-9474
  • National Suicide Hotline 1-800-784-2433

Other Voices

The Family Violence Prevention Fund has a lot of good information on how to prevent violence and abuse. This website gives parents, teachers, teens, and children access to free resources to promote prevention and positive relationships, including FREE postcards (and other materials).

See It And Stop It is an organization that helps teens learn how to recognize abuse (including bullying, neglect, stalking, harassment, and unhealthy relationships) and how to stand up and STOP IT! in their own lives, schools, and communities. How do you help a friend that might be the victim of abuse, and how can you make a difference without putting them in danger?

The National Center for Victims of Crime Teen Victim Project has people on staff that will answer any questions you have about domestic abuse. "What do I do if I feel threatened?" "Do I have to call the police, or can I try to work things out?" "What if I don't want to get someone in trouble?" No question is a bad question, and you can email all of them to: gethelp@ncvc.org. Don't be afraid to ask for help. (Here is a link to the website En Espanol for Spanish-speaking students and friends!)

Teen Source is an online 'zine that publishes something called Peer Provider News. Issue #4, titled, "Websites for Teen Violence Prevention," has links to sites about how to prevent and react to bullying, family violence, relationship and dating safety, school violence, hate crimes, and gangs.  

Love is Not Abuse is a website that has a Teens Only! section dealing with dating and relationships. This site can help you get a "reality check" on your relationship, let you know when it's natural to feel hurt or depressed in a relationship and when it's not okay. This website also contains quizzes, articles, a place to ask questions, and advice on what to do in a dangerous situation.

  • YWCA-Kitsap County, Bremerton (1-800-500-5513), 905 Pacific Ave., Bremerton, WA 98337

The YWCA of Kistap County offers free victim support services on Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m-noon and Thurdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

You can also call their 24-hour hotline at (360)479-1980.

Here's a list of services they provide:

  • Protection orders
  • Emergency shelter
  • Help in creating a safety plan
  • Legal support


If you or someone you know wants to donate money toward the cause of eliminating domestic violence in Kitsap County and Washington, go to the Kitsap County Domestic Violence Task Force's Website or the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence's donation page.


For a page of artwork we've done to reflect on the issue of domestic violence and what it means, go here.

Here are some tips that can help you be safe in a domestic violence situation:

Preventing the Situation

  • Have a safety plan -- Know what you're going to do if you think a situation is going to come up. Some things you should think about are: 1) an escape route that you have practiced using 2) having a cell phone with you 3) who you can call for help 
  • Have a code word -- You can use this code word when you need help.
  • Know where you'll go -- Have an idea ahead of time of a place that you can go if you need to get away quickly.

Be Safe During the Situation

  • Stay in rooms that have exits
  • Stay out of rooms that have objects that can be used as weapons
  • Use your code word with a friend so they can call the police for you
  • Sometimes trying to leave the situation will make the abuser more angry, so use your instincts to decide when it's best to leave
  • Try to get to a public place
  • Use your voiceto bring attention to a situation that's dangerous.
  • Yelling "Fire!" will attract more attention than yelling "help!"

What to do After the Situation

  • Tell an adult you trust right away
  • Don't stay silent
  • Make a plan to avoid the situation from repeating itself
  • Have a list in your head of places that you can call for help

 It's difficult to know when someone is being abused, but it's better to be safe than sorry. The following symptoms are signs of domestic violence or abuse.

  • Misses school a lot
  • Usually has injuries that are caused by "accidents"
  • Gets harrassing phone calls
  • Talks about being scared of whoever is abusing them
  • Changes in personality
  • Stops hanging out with friends
  • Doesn't interact as much with family
  • Has low self-esteem or depression more than usual

Answering these questions can help you decide if a situation is abusive or violent. If you answer yes to most of them, then you should report the situation to an adult that you trust or the Bremerton Police Department:

  • Has the person ever been physically violent?
  • Do you feel like you did something wrong but you don't know what it is?
  • Have you ever felt scared of the person?
  • Do you feel like there's nowhere to go for help?
  • Do you feel alone?
  • Have you lost a lot of your friends?
  • Has your relationship with your family changed for the worse?
  • Do you feel like you don't have positive or negative emotions like you used to?
  • Do you feel like no one would believe you if you told them your situation?

Source: Kitsap County Domestic Violence Task Force and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence 

Tips for Talking with Friends

Talking with your friends who you think might have been abused is a hard thing to do. Here are some tips for talking with victims of domestic violence that will help them understand that you're there for them.

  1. Approach them in a way that tells them that you are just there to listen and not give advice.
  2. Phrases you can use to help are: "It's not your fault," "I'm here for whatever you need," "You're not alone," and "I will support whatever you choose to do."
  3. Be ready to provide information, rather than advice. Have a list of phone numbers for them to call and safe places they might be able to go in case of a dangerous situation.
  4. Be understanding. Sometimes the most dangerous time for someone in a domestic violence situation is when they try to get away from it. If someone doesn't want to leave, support them in their decision and learn to be OK with that.

Source: Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence's Media Guide

These facts will give you an idea of how important it is that more people take a stand against domestic violence.

  • Approximately 25 percent of teens in Washington reported experiencing dating violence in their relationships
  • In a survey of people in Washington and Idaho, 44 percent of respondents reported experiencing partner violence at some point in their lifetime
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States. That's more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
  • One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the U.S.
  • About 1 out of 4 women are likely to be abused by a partner in their lifetime
  • Many abusive or violent partners learned abusive or violent behavior when they were growing up
  • 40 percent to 60 percent of men who abuse women also abuse children
  • Lack of financial resources is the main reason given for why people choose to say with abusive partners
  • Sources: Clark County Prosecuting Attorney's Website, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Caring Unlimited, Genesis Center

    The Civic Engagement Team at Mountain View Middle School has met with a group of AmeriCorps members for the past two months to create a community service project. This Website is our community service project. It will hopefully help people in Bremerton find information that will help them if they are involved in domestic violence and abuse situations.

    Over the past two months, we saw the huge issue with domestic violence not just in our own city, but many others. To let more members of the community -- a community can be as small as a school or as large as the world! -- know that domestic violence and abuse can be stopped if we work together. Our group saw that domestic violence is a major issue that hasn't really been properly addressed, so we took the matter upon ourselves to let others know more about the problem of domestic violence and abuse in our community.