Relationship Violence


Relationship violence is a pattern of controlling and coercive behaviors that include physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Relationship violence happens to people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, classes, ages and abilities.

Relationship violence is the most common form of violence to enter the workplace. A US Justice Department and Centers for Disease Control study in 2000 found that almost 25 percent of women and 7 percent of men reported that they had been assaulted by a current or former partner.

Relationship Violence Warning Signs

Sometimes a person that seems like a kind and loving partner can turn into someone who hurts, controls or scares you. Relationship violence is a pattern of behaviors that a person uses to maintain power and control over another person. The Duluth Power and Control wheel explains the types of behaviors that one person can use to control another. They include: intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, minimizing, denying, blaming, using children, using male privilege, economic abuse, coercion and threats.

Does your partner:

  • put you down, berate or belittle you. Call you stupid, ugly, or say things like "no one else would love you, or put up with you like I do"?
  • prevent you from seeing friends, family or going places or talking to them on phone?
  • control who you see and talk to?
  • hit, push, slap or throw things at you?
  • harass, stalk or spy on you?
  • make all of the decisions in your relationship – what to do when you are together, when you are alone, and decisions about sex and intimacy?
  • force or manipulate you to engage in sexual activity?
  • make you feel unsafe or on edge.
  • threaten to hurt themselves if you leave. Say that they can't live without you and they will kill themselves or hurt themselves if you leave?
  • threaten to hurt you emotionally and or physically?
  • blackmail or threaten to stalk you or say things like "I'd kill you if you left me".

Protection Orders

There are a variety of types of "protection orders" that a person can obtain. Forms to obtain a protection order are available in any municipal, district, or superior court.

  • An order restraining the abuser from further acts of abuse;
  • An order directing the abuser to leave your household;
  • An order preventing the abuser from entering a residence, school, business, or place of employment;
  • An order awarding custody of, or visitation with a minor child or children; and
  • An order restraining the abuser from molesting or interfering with minor children in a person's custody.


Under Washington State law, employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, or who have to assist a family member who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking are entitled to reasonable leave from work.

Learn more about your leave eligibility by going to the Human Resources Employee Leave/Holiday web pages, follow the link to your employment program, then select the "Domestic/Sexual Violence Related Leave" link in the right column on the page.


Victims of relationship violence must decide what action is appropriate for them to take. If you are a victim of relationship violence, consider telling someone you trust about your situation. Notify the local police department if you have received a direct threat or if you have been harmed.

If you know someone who is a victim of relationship violence it is important to listen to them, believe them, maintain confidentiality, provide options and let them know they are not alone.

These University resources can assist employees who who are experiencing or who have concerns about relationship violence.

The UW Violence Prevention and Response Program - 253-692-SAFE (253-692-7233)
In addition to other resources the VPRP provides support and education to ensure that individuals are connected with services and resources that fit their needs and concerns.
UW CareLink is the faculty and staff employee assistance program (EAP). It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Confidential, short-term consultation for personal and work issues is available at no cost. For 24-hour crisis services and TDD access, call 800.833.3031.
UW Human Resources
UW Tacoma Human Resources can help you with information about leave eligibility use, planning time away from work for legal reasons etc. You may also contact UW Tacoma's assigned Human Resources Consultant from Seattle.
UW Women's Center
In addition to other resources, the UW Women's Center offers a Violence Prevention Program.

Notification of Protection Orders

If you have obtained an Order for Victim Protection that includes a University of Washington location(s) please:

  • Provide a copy of the order to the Police Department and to UW Tacoma Campus Safety.
  • Report the situation to the Violence Prevention & Response Team at 253-692-SAFE (7233). The Violence Prevention and Response Team will convene the Assessment Team to make on-campus safety recommendations for your employee and your work location.


If you or others may be in danger


253-692-SAFE (7233)
For advice and resources


Campus Safety Escort Program