Domestic violence is generally a coercive behavior that includes physical, sexual, economic, emotional, or psychological abuse of one family member or romantic partner by another. In most states, domestic violence includes assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or murder of one household member by another household member.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence generally occurs when a spouse or intimate partner uses physical violence, threats, emotional abuse, harassment, or stalking to control the behavior of his or her partner. Partners involved in domestic violence and abuse may be married, heterosexual, homosexual, living together, separated, or dating. Physical violence can include touching a person against his or her will, shoving, grabbing, or forcing a person to stay somewhere. Emotional abuse includes name-calling, insults, keeping a partner from contacting family or friends, withholding money, stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job, threatening physical harm, or intimidation. Domestic violence can include physical violence causing injuries, a possibility of injury, threats, and protection order violations.
The links below will take you to a Power and Control Wheel diagram (in English and Spanish) that can serve as a domestic violence screening tool:
Who can be Arrested for Domestic Violence?
The police may arrest any person (adult or juvenile) for domestic violence if they have probable cause to believe he or she committed a crime. People from all walks of life, including both men and women, are arrested for domestic violence. Domestic violence occurs in cities, suburbs and rural areas and among all social classes, races, religions, incomes and family backgrounds. If you are accused of domestic violence, it is crucial that you seek the services of an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.
What are the Effects of Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence creates havoc in a victim's and in an accused abuser's family and working lives. The effects of domestic violence are far reaching, including detrimental effects on children. Domestic violence causes misery, anxiety, fear, shame, physical and emotional pain, and financial burdens due to missed work, medical bills and psychological treatment.
Whom can I Call for Help?
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
If you would like to speak to someone about your situation, you can call the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter hotline at 703-777-6552 (24 hours a day).
You can also call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 800-779-SAFE (7233); 800-787-3224 (TTY).
Coordinated Community Response
The Coordinated Community Response (CCR) model of domestic violence illustrates the inter-relationship of agencies and levels of response for addressing domestic violence. It recognizes that no one agency can deal effectively and safely with the effects of domestic violence, but rather a collaborative approach is best.
Loudoun County has developed a coordinated community response (CCR) to domestic violence through the collaborative efforts of its project partners. The project partners include:
- Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office
- Leesburg Police Department
- Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Office
- Victim Witness Program
- Loudoun County Department of Community Corrections
- Loudoun Citizens for Social Justice / Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS)
- Juvenile Court Services Unit
- Loudoun County Department Mental Health / Substance Abuse / Developmental Services
- Loudoun County Department of Family Services
- Loudoun County Public Schools
Loudoun Domestic Abuse Response Team
To facilitate development of its CCR, the county formed the Loudoun Domestic Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.). D.A.R.T. is comprised of front line workers and mid-level managers from the project agencies. The D.A.R.T. is advised by the Loudoun Domestic Violence Steering Committee, which consists of county agency directors, local department heads as well as the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court Judges.
The Loudoun D.A.R.T. endeavors to ensure collaboration with project and community partners regarding information sharing, mutual problem solving, victim safety issues, offender accountability as well as accountability within the criminal justice system. The team has developed protocols that ensure clear and expeditious lines of communication within the justice system as well as encourage the legal exchange of critical information that should lead to uniform and consistent responses to domestic and family violence.
Josephine Gonzalez, MPP
D.A.R.T. Mission Statement
The mission of the D.A.R.T. is to ensure the safety of victims and families, and to increase offender accountability through consistent collaboration with our interagency and community partners; and to promote awareness and education about the pervasive effects of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse through training, intervention, and rehabilitation.
Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter (LAWS)
The mission of LAWS is to serve adults and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; to empower, inform and advocate for adults and children; to educate the community about domestic violence and sexual assault and to work towards the elimination of personal and societal violence.
For more information concerning LAWS and the services they can provide , please visit the following link: Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter