If you are a batterer or if you are concerned you may be abusing your spouse, partner, another household member, or a person you are dating, this area gives you actions to take now, plus information on resources available to help you stop.
Actions you can take NOW to stop the violence and get help
When you're thinking angry thoughts about your partner and you feel upset and frustrated, remember that you have a CHOICE.
Here are some ways you can stop your violence:
LEAVE THE SCENE: No matter where you are, no matter what your partner is doing, just LEAVE! Leave to collect your thoughts. GO somewhere safe and peaceful, to calm down.
SLOW DOWN - COOL DOWN: Focus on something else to help you calm down. Take a brisk walk. Listen to music. Work out.
THINK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Domestic violence is damaging to all family members, the victim, the children and the perpetrator. It is also against the law in Washington State. Perpetrators who are arrested for domestic violence usually have to serve time in jail. Those who are convicted or plead guilty are often required by the court to complete two years of probation, a year of specialized counseling, and payment of fines and restitution. Although it can be difficult to do, it's a good idea to get professional help on your own.
TALK: Talk to someone outside the situation, such as a counselor at a crisis line. Tell them you need to cool down and that it helps to have someone listen to you. They will! Call (206)461-3222 for the Crisis Clinic.
TELL A FRIEND: Tell a friend you trust what you are doing to slow down and cool down. Remember that alcohol and drugs get in the way of making safe decisions.
GET HELP: We've provided a list of domestic violence treatment programs which can help you learn new ways to solve problems without violence.
If you are in danger or at risk of hurting someone else, please hang up and call 9-1-1 NOW.
The warning signs of domestic violence
You are about to read warning signs that may show you are committing acts of domestic violence. Where we use the word "partner" we mean wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, lover, or whoever applies to your situation. Where we use "she" or "her," if your partner is male, hear it as "he" or "him."
You may be committing domestic violence if you are doing any of the following things:
- Checking up on your partner a lot: for example, you could be listening to your partner's phone calls, asking where she has been, calling her at work throughout the day, or checking the mileage on her car.
- Putting your partner down: for example, you may call her names, criticize her frequently, humiliate her in public or private, or try to make her feel crazy.
- Trying to control your partner: for example, you may be telling her not to see certain friends or family members, keeping her from going to school or work, making her stay at home when she wants to go out.
- Acting jealous or possessive and saying that is a sign of love.
- Destroying or threatening to destroy your partner's belongings.
- Threatening to hurt your partner, her friends, other family members, or pets.
- Touching your partner in a way that hurts or scares her.
- Making your partner have sex in ways or at times that are not comfortable for her.
- Blaming your partner or others for everything; getting angry in a way that scares your partner.
- Saying that your partner's concerns and fears about your relationship are not real or not important.
If you think you may be committing acts of domestic violence, stop now and seek help. Listen to the other messages in these pages for actions you can take today to end the violence.
Drinking and other drug use is no excuse for abusive behavior. Telling yourself battering will stop when the drinking and drug use does is a very dangerous mistake. People who abuse others as well as substances need two kinds of treatment: substance abuse treatment and batterer's treatment. Unlearning unsafe, abusive patterns requires accountability as well as sobriety. If you are in an abusive relationship and concerned about your own or another person's alcohol or other drug use, you can receive information and referrals 24 hours a day by calling the Alcohol Drug Help Line. The number in the Seattle area is 722-3700; the number for people throughout Washington State is 1-800-562-6052.
The following programs meet State standards for people who are court-ordered to attend domestic violence treatment. Domestic violence treatment programs help abusers to identify and stop their abusive behavior, to recognize the impact of the abuse on their partners, children, and themselves, and to learn a variety of techniques for having safe, respectful relationships.
Marriage counseling and anger management programs generally do not meet State standards for domestic violence treatment and therefore are not appropriate in domestic violence cases.
Fees vary by agency and many agencies have sliding fee scales for low-income clients.
Domestic Violence Perpetrator Treatment Programs by City - Click Here
Domestic Violence Perpetrator Treatment Programs by Program Name
Domestic violence is a serious crime. It is against the law in the State of Washington. It is a crime to hit, hurt, or seriously threaten a family or household member with violence.
Assault includes such things as slapping, pushing, shoving, pinching, throwing someone down, pulling hair, and other violent actions that are unwanted. A person who verbally or physically threatens a family or household member, making that person fearful of being hurt, is committing a crime.
Violation of a court order is also a crime.
The term "family or household member" under the domestic violence law includes "spouses, former spouses, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a respondent sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren."
When police respond to a domestic violence call in Washington State they are required to make a written report and make an arrest if they believe that an assault occurred within the previous four hours. They can make an arrest even after the four-hour period, depending on the circumstances. They may also issue a citation.
The State of Washington and those who enforce the law recognize domestic violence to be a serious crime against society, and recognize the importance of giving maximum protection to the victim. The intent of the domestic violence law is to help protect the victim while communicating clearly that violent behavior is not excused and will not be tolerated.
If you think you may be committing acts of domestic violence, stop now and seek help. Other messages on these pages provide information about programs that help abusers identify and stop their abusive behavior.
If you are upset, getting out of control, or in need of immediate help, hang up and call 9-1-1.
If you are the Respondent in an emergency Order for Protection or a full Order for Protection, the Court has set limits on your behavior in order to provide for the safety of the Petitioner. If you violate the conditions of the Order, you can be arrested immediately, you can be issued a citation, or you can have a civil contempt-of-court action filed against you.
If you have been served with an emergency "Temporary Order for Protection and Notice of Hearing," read the order carefully. Note the date and time set by the Court for a full hearing. You have the right and option to attend that hearing. One of the purposes for the hearing is so the Court can hear from you and know your responses to the Petitioner's statements.
Remember: it is your responsibility to abide by all the conditions in the Order. You are to follow the Court Order strictly. So long as it is in effect, you are to abide by it. You can be arrested for violating the order even if you are invited by the Petitioner to do something which would violate it.
Only the Court can change the provisions and conditions of a Court Order.