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About Relationship Violence


Relationship violence occurs when an individual uses a pattern of emotional, verbal, sexual, and/or physical, abuse to control an intimate partner. Relationship violence can affect anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, culture, age or religion.

Disagreements develop from time to time in relationships. Relationship violence is not a disagreement; it is a pattern of behaviors that may cause psychological harm or physical injury and/or be criminal in nature.

Relationship or domestic violence may begin with insults, name calling, shoving, or throwing and breaking objects, then proceed to driving recklessly to endanger or scare another person, isolating family members from others, and controlling resources like money, vehicles, credit, and time. More physically violent behaviors include threats of violence or suicide, or threats to take children from the abused person, hurting pets, kidnapping, stalking, hitting, and strangling/choking.

Abuse is a learned pattern of behavior and, without intervention, becomes more destructive and sometimes lethal over time. Abusive individuals may have a need for power or control over someone else to compensate for their own low self-esteem, insecurity, fear, and confusion. Abusers or those concerned that they may become abusers should contact UW CareLink for assistance 1-800-833-3031.

Relationship Violence Warning Signs

A partner who:


Steps to Increase Your Safety

  1. Tell someone you trust what is happening.  A friend, relative or counselor at the Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-562-6025. 
  2. Report the situation to the Violence and Prevention and Response team at 685-SAFE.
  3. Alert your supervisor of the situation.
  4. Develop a plan with a range of options for your safety. Keep this plan in a safe, private place away from your abuser. Do not tell anyone about this plan unless he or she is a part of it. Do not leave notes, addresses, appointments, or other clues lying around.
  5. Talk to schools and childcare providers about who has permission to pick up the children.
  6.  Find a lawyer knowledgeable about family violence to explore custody, visitation and divorce provisions that protect you and your children.
  7. Contact one or more of the community resources
  8. Practice different exits from your home or office—what doors, windows, elevators, or stairwells to use. Plan how you are going to get to safe places.
  9. Have options for who you can call, where you can stay, and items you may need such as: money, clothing, medication, driver’s license, birth certificate, Social Security card, credit cards, insurance cards, police reports, any orders of protection you have filed, address book, car/house/bank keys, and photos of any of your injuries.
  10. Consider packing a bag in advance and leaving it with a friend, along with an extra set of car/house keys.
  11. Take advantage of Husky NightWalk by calling 206-685-WALK for a security guard to escort you on campus after dark.
  12. File a protection order if you have left the abuser
  13. In an emergency call 911.

Steps to Follow if You Are Being Stalked

  1. Be clear that the relationship is over. Tell the stalker “no” once and only once. The more you respond (even to say “no”), the more the stalker is encouraged.
  2. If the stalker has your phone number, do not change it. Let it always go to voicemail and get another unlisted number. If s/he leaves messages this can help your police case. Also if you change your number this may upset the stalker and result in worse behavior.
  3. Report stalking behaviors to the police.
  4. Report the situation to the Violence and Prevention and Response team at 685-SAFE.
  5. Alert your supervisor of the situation.
  6. Take advantage of Husky NightWalk by calling 206-685-WALK for a security guard to escort you on campus after dark.
  7. Keep a detailed journal of all incidents, suspicious occurrences. Keep all e-mails, voice-mails, etc. Make sure to keep your records in a safe place.
  8. Let co-workers, neighbors know what is happening and give them a detailed description of the stalker and any vehicles the stalker uses. Have them alert you if they see the stalker.
  9. Get to know the locations of police precincts, fire stations and all night convenience stores. If you are being followed, do not go home. Go to one of these locations to get help.
  10. Find more resources online. For example:


Administrative Policy Statement 11.7 - Policy for Domestic Violence in the Workplace Awareness.

UW CareLink Resources

UW CareLink, the faculty and staff employee assistance program (EAP), is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Confidential, short-term consultation for personal and work issues is available to employees, their dependents, and household members at no cost.

To speak with an EAP professional, call toll free: 866.598.3978. For 24-hour crisis services and TDD access, call 800.833.3031. Online resources: Use company code: UW

Community Resources

Provided with the assistance of the UW CareLink Faculty and Staff Assistance Program.
(The contents of this article and referenced websites, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the site are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your situation. © APS Healthcare, Inc., Silver Spring, MD. All rights reserved.)

Immediately call 911 (Call 5555 Harborview Medical Center only) to report any situation that you believe may result in harm to yourself or others.

Learn your responsibilities for reporting violence in the workplace