About Intimate Partner Violence


Dating Violence

Dating violence is a pattern of coercive behaviors that one person intentionally uses to maintain power and control over another person. It can include physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, and economic abuse and affects the victims' independence, safety, security and well-being.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is similar to dating violence with the exception that the crime is committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, or someone with whom the abuser has a child, has an existing dating or engagement relationship, or has had a former dating or engagement relationship.

Identifying Abuse

Look over the following questions. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner. Remember, when one person scares, hurts or continually puts down the other person, it's abuse.

Does your partner…

  • Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?
  • Put down your accomplishments or goals?
  • Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
  • Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?
  • Tell you that you are nothing without them?
  • Treat you roughly – grab, push, pinch, shove, or hit you?
  • Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
  • Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
  • Blame you for how they feel or act?
  • Pressure you sexually for things you aren't ready for?
  • Make you feel like there "is no way out" of the relationship
  • Prevent you from doing things you want, like spending time with your friends or family?
  • Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to "teach you a lesson?"

Do You…

  • Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
  • Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner's behavior?
  • Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
  • Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
  • Feel like no matter what you do, your partner is never happy with you?
  • Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
  • Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up?

If you believe you, a family member, or friend are in an abusive relationship,

Get Help

Get Help

Being a victim of intimate partner violence is not your fault. Nothing you say, wear, or do gives anyone the right to hurt you. Remember that you are not alone and you can always receive support.

If you are in immediate danger, please call the Police. They will ensure your safety and the safety of others in the house.

You can receive support by contacting the UCI CARE office and speaking to an Advocate about your options, or by contacting Human Options, a local Orange County agency that focuses on Intimate Partner Violence. They have a shelter for immediate safety concerns as well as a 24/7 hotline: 877‑854‑3594.

Creating a Safety Plan

If you are still in the relationship

  1. Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom), or rooms with weapons (kitchen).
  2. Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.
  3. Keep change with you at all times.
  4. Memorize all important numbers.
  5. Establish a "code word or sign" so that family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.
  6. Think about what you will say to your partner if he/she becomes violent.
  7. Remember you have the right to live without fear and violence.
  8. Have a set of clothes for yourself and for your children stored at a friend's house or at work in the event you need to flee your house.
  9. Keep sets of important documents (savings account records/check books/safety deposit keys), birth certificates, school records, deeds, other legal documents) away from your house in a safe place that only you can access.

If you have left the relationship

  1. Change your phone number.
  2. Screen calls.
  3. Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving your significant other.
  4. Change locks, if the batterer has a key.
  5. Avoid staying alone.
  6. Plan how to get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
  7. If you have to meet your partner, do it in a public place with a family member or friend close by or present.
  8. Vary your routine.
  9. Notify school and work contacts.
  10. Contact CARE or the Orange County Domestic Violence Assistance Program at 714‑935‑7956. Often, domestic violence assistance programs can provide cell phones directly linked to 9-1-1 that you can carry for your protection.

What to take with you when leaving as abusive relationship

If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving, you should take important papers and documents with you to enable you to apply for benefits or take legal action. Important papers you should take include:

  • Social security cards and birth certificates for you and your children
  • Your marriage license
  • Leases or deeds in your name or both yours and your partner's names
  • Your checkbook
  • Your charge cards, bank statements, and charge account statements
  • Insurance policies
  • Proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs or W-2's)
  • Any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical records, etc.)

Tools for creating your personal safety plan

You are the expert on your life. Your own experience is the best tool in planning for your safety.

Download Safety Plans

Microsoft Word


Password protect your safety plan

To ensure that a digital copy of your safety plan is secure, do not save the file as "Safety Plan." Save it with a not so obvious filename in a not so obvious folder, such as a Windows or Mac OS system folder. For added security password protect the file with a strong password that you will easily remember without writing down. Strong passwords combine upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Password Protecting a Microsoft Word document

Password Protecting a PDF

If you have a professional version of Acrobat (not just Reader), you can password protect a pdf in two ways:

Saving a Word doc as a password-protected pdf

  1. With the document open in Word, select the Acrobat tab on the toolbar
  2. Click "Preferences" on the Acrobat toolbar and navigate to the Security tab
  3. Check "Require password to open the document"
  4. Type in your password, then click OK at the bottom of the dialog box
  5. Confirm the password by typing it in again when prompted
  6. Under the Acrobat tab on the toolbar, click "Create PDF"

Password protecting a pdf in Acrobat

  1. With the pdf file open, go to File > Properties, or press Ctrl-D
  2. Select the "Security" tab, and from the "Security Method" dropdown, choose "Password Security"
  3. Follow steps 4 and 5 above
  4. Save your file

It's important to note that there are tools available online that a determined person can use to access a password-protected file. If possible, save your safety plan on a computer that your partner does not have access to.

Adapted from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Healthy Relationships

Signs of a Healthy Relationship

  1. Honesty and Accountability

    This means that both partners accept responsibility for their own actions and don’t blame them on others. If there is a need to change, they do so for their own emotional growth and not because their partner is nagging.

  2. Nonthreatening Behavior

    This includes talking and acting in a way that makes your partner feel safe to express herself/himself. There is a commitment not to use threats or manipulative actions.

  3. Negotiation and Fairness

    Do both partners seek mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict? Are they accepting of change? Are they willing to compromise?

  4. Communication

    We have all heard the term "open lines of communication." This implies that both partners talk openly and truthfully. They are able to be honest with themselves and about their own feelings.

  5. Shared Responsibility

    Both partners make decisions together. If a job has to be done, they share it as equally as possible.

  6. Respect

    Aretha Franklin had the right idea! Without respect, and our next sign, trust, there is no relationship. When you respect your partner, you listen non-judgmentally. You value each other’s opinions and are emotionally affirming and understanding.

  7. Trust and Support

    This means that you support each other’s goals. You also respect each other's right to individual feelings, friends, activities, and opinions. You do the hard work of overcoming your own feelings of jealousy, envy or resentment.

  8. Independence and Autonomy

    Both partners are aware of their own dependency needs and don’t foist it on their partner or make them responsible for it. They can be apart and be hap y. They can do activities separately with friends of the opposite sex and be fine.

Information provided by Community Service Programs, Inc.