Domestic violence consists of abuse - physical, mental and/or sexual - of children, adults or seniors in a familial setting. It is not uncommon that if one type of abuse is occurring within a home, other abuse may (or soon will) be taking place. Domestic Violence affects at least one out of every four American families.
Victims of domestic violence often remain in their abusive situation for a variety of situations. While reasons range from love, children, financial dependence, threats of suicide and/or homicide, lack of support from family or friends, it is very possible that the victim may be locked into a cycle of violence.
In California, it is a crime for any person to threaten, beat, sexually assault or otherwise harm another person, even if they are married. A variety of resources exist to help victims of domestic violence break the cycle of violence - refer to the telephone directory under "Women's Services and Organizations" and "Crisis" as well as city or county departments of family services, social services or health and/or welfare. Many organizations have hotlines that are answered 24 hours a day.
Call the police department if physical danger is imminent to receive assistance and to have an emergency protective order issued. Be sure to collect evidence or proof of abuse, regardless of whether or not charges will be filed, to fully inform law enforcement and the courts of the situation.
It is important that victims of domestic violence reach out for support, both from Friends and family as well as from local aid organizations. Victim compensation assistance may be available through the California Victim's of Crime Program. For more details on domestic violence, visit the Attorney General's Crime and Violence Prevention Center website: http://safestate.org/index.cfm?navId=9
(excerpts/content taken from the California Attorney General's Crime and Violence Prevention Center brochure on domestic violence)