Relationship violence is a pattern of behavior in which one partner uses fear and intimidation to establish power and control over the other partner, often including the threat or use of violence. This abuse happens when one person believes they are entitled to control another. It may or may not include sexual assault. It is a crime to assault or batter anyone, including an intimate partner or ex-partner.
Relationship violence occurs in straight/heterosexual relationships, same-sex/gender relationships and in intimate relationships that do not involve romantic feelings. Intimate partner violence can happen with roommates, friends, classmates, or teammates. Relationship violence impacts people of all ethnicities, races, classes, abilities and nationalities.
Although there are some general patterns in domestic or dating violence, there is no typical abusive behavior. To wear down and control his/her victim, an abuser may use emotional harassment, physical contact, intimidation, or other means. The controlling behavior usually escalates, particularly if the object of the abuse tries to resist or leave.