U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

OVC Help Series for Victims of Crime: Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2012
2 pages

This online brochure from the HELP Brochure Series of the federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) addresses the characteristics of the offense of domestic violence, identifies victimization needs that frequently occur in domestic violence, and provides information on services available for victims and how to access them.


The brochure notes that the term "domestic violence" encompasses many types of victimizing acts committed against an individual by a current or former intimate partner. Domestic violence includes any form of physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial abuse, or other harmful controlling behaviors. Facts on domestic violence cover its prevalence in the United States (22 percent of the violent crimes against women and 5 percent of the violent crimes against men in 2010) and the severity of the harms experienced by victims. The brochure provides advice to domestic violence victims on the importance of recognizing the harms and dangers to themselves of the behavior of their partners and then take the steps necessary to end and heal the victimization. The brochure advises that every person in an abusive relationship should have a safety plan. Domestic violence shelters and advocates in the community can assist in the development of a safety plan tailored to each situation. A domestic violence advocate can help a victim learn about her/his rights as a victim and provide information on legal options, such as reporting the crime to local law enforcement or obtaining a protective order. Information is also provided on state victim compensation programs in cases that involve economic harms to victims. Contact information is provided for Nationwide resources for victims of domestic violence.

Date Published: June 1, 2012