Dating/Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. (USDOJ)

What is Dating Violence?

Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim is dating violence. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

  • the length of the relationship
  • the type of relationship
  • the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship (USDOJ)

Student Conduct Policy

Individuals that commit domestic/dating violence are in violation of the following student conduct policies:

  • Assault: physical conduct which threatens or endangers the health, safety, or well being of any person or group. Abuse includes (but is not limited to) hitting, kicking, slapping, punching, pushing, and/or spitting on another person or person. (SU Student Handbook)
  • Harassment: repeated, severe or pervasive actions directed towards specific individual(s) with the intent or effect to harass or alarm including actual, attempted, or threatened physical contact or acts that serve no legitimate purpose. (SU Student Handbook)

Know the Facts

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV):

  • One in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
  • Females who are 20–24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
  • Domestic violence is the number one reason women go to the ER in the United States.
  • Every 15 seconds, a woman is physically abused by her partner.

Types of Abuse

Below is a list of common types and examples of abuse. This list is provided by the USDOJ.

  • Physical Abuse

    Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc. are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.

  • Sexual Abuse

    Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

  • Emotional Abuse

    Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.

  • Economic Abuse

    Defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.

  • Psychological Abuse

    Elements of psychological abuse include—but are not limited to—causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

Power and Control

Domestic and dating violence are all about the need for one person to gain power and control over another individual. It can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, gender, ability, religion, or socioeconomic status.

The College Power and Control Wheel is a tool developed by the Haven Project at Indiana University of Pennsylvania to identify ways in which an individual can experience an unhealthy and/or abusive relationship in college. This tool was inspired by and adapted from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project Power and Control Wheel.

Warning Signs

Below is a list of common warning signs seen in unhealthy or abusive relationships, as well as a list of signs that your friend may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. If you are concerned about your relationships, or about a friend, help is available. You may find it helpful to speak with a representative from the SU Counseling Center.

Does your partner:

  • Tell you who you can be friends with, what you can wear, and where you can go?
  • Get jealous or possessive?
  • Put you down or blame you for whatever goes wrong?
  • Isolate you from your family and friends?
  • Claim that they “cannot live without you” or threaten to hurt and/or commit suicide if you leave?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be in or at risk of being in an unhealthy and/or abusive relationship. Remember, you’re not alone. Help is available. Click here for campus and community resources.

Does your friend:

  • Provide inconsistent explanations for their injuries?
  • Use alcohol and/or other drugs as a coping mechanism?
  • Have injuries in multiple stages of healing?
  • Fear physical attack from their partner?
  • Exhibit self-blame behaviors (i.e., “it’s my fault that my partner hits me”)?
  • Belief that the violence is temporary or caused by unusual circumstances (i.e., stress from school/work).

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your friend may be in or at risk of being in an unhealthy and/or abusive relationship. Remember, you’re not alone. Help is available for you and your friend. Click here for campus and community resources.

Adapted from Love is Respect’s Is this Abuse?

If You’ve Experienced Violence

Everyone deserves a relationship that is healthy, safe, and supportive. If you are in a relationship that is hurting you, it is important for you to know that the abuse is not your fault. It is also important for you to start thinking of ways to keep yourself safe from the abuse, whether you decide to end the relationship or not.

  • Safety Planning

    A counselor can help you work through a safety plan. These guidelines should not replace safety planning with an advocate. Create a written safety plan considering the following:

    • Safety on campus: Identify the safest way to get to class. Identify the places on campus where you run into your abuser and how to avoid him/her. Identify which friend(s) to ask to go with you if you can’t avoid the area. Identify where you can go on campus to feel safe (dining hall, student union, etc.). University Safety offers escort service; call for assistance.
    • Safety online and with cell phones: Set online profiles to be as private as they can be. Save and keep track of any abusive, threatening, or harassing comments, posts, or texts. Do not answer calls from unknown, blocked, or private numbers. Consider purchasing a Trac phone.
    • If you need to leave suddenly, be prepared: If you live with or near the abuser, have a bag ready with these important items in case you need to leave quickly: driver’s license, cell phone and charger, spare money, keys, change of clothes, medications, list of credit cards including joint accounts or the credit cards themselves, bank account information, birth certificate, Social Security card, immigration papers (copies if originals not available), and special photos or possessions. If you have children, pack anything they may need, including original or copies of birth certificates and important papers.
    • Store as much of this at a trusted friend’s or neighbor’s house. Try to avoid using next-door neighbors, close family members, and mutual friends.
    • Also take with you important phone numbers of friends, relatives, doctors, schools, etc.
    • Hide an extra set of car keys.
    • If you have decided to leave an abusive relationship, leave when the abuser is not with you. Have a safe place to go.
    • Consider seeking shelter at “One Safe Place”.
  • Protection for Abuse Orders

    A Protection From Abuse (PFA) order is a court order (restraining order) issued to provide relief for persons who have experienced or fear serious physical injury from another person.


    You must have had one of the following relationships with the abuser:

    • Spouse or person living as a spouse
    • Sexual or intimate partner
    • Your parent
    • Your child
    • Siblings/those who share biological parents
    • Person related by blood or marriage

    (There is NO requirement for the parties having lived together.)

    Relief Provided:

    The court may order any appropriate relief needed to end the abuse. Here are some examples:

    • The abuser is not to abuse the victim.
    • The abuser is to refrain from contacting, harassing, stalking and/or entering the victim’s residence, place of employment, school, or business.
    • If a firearm was used or the abuser owns guns, the abuser may be required to surrender them to the sheriff for the duration of the order.

    To request a Protection From Abuse or restraining order, contact “One Safe Place” at (530) 244-0118.

  • Reporting Sexual Violence

    You have the right to report sexual assault, domestic/ dating violence, or stalking to the police. To file a criminal complaint, contact SU Campus Safety at (530) 941-7592 or RPD at (530) 225-4200 or call 9-1-1.

    If the perpetrator is affiliated with SU, you should report the violence to the university.

    • If the perpetrator is an SU student, you should report to the Student Conduct in Student Development or the Title IX office. Student Conduct and/or the Title IX Officer will investigate the alleged violence. Information about this process and possible sanctions are available at the Simpson University website under Title IX or in the student handbook.
    • If the perpetrator is a university employee, volunteer, or vendor, report this to the Title IX office and/or to the Director of Human Resources.

    You can also report to the university without filing a criminal complaint.

    Reporting to the police may seem intimidating. You can request that an advocate accompany you by calling the Wellness Center (530) 226-4667 or “One Safe Place” at (530) 244-0118.

    Victims are not required to report sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking to the police, the Office of Student Conduct, or the Title IX office. You can however receive university services regardless of whether or not you report an act of violence. But because the university wants to prevent future sexual violence, you are encouraged to report.

If you have questions or would like to speak to someone about an assault, help is available by reviewing our list of Sexual Assault Awareness Resources and Contacts.