U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.


Family violence covers a broad range of acts that can include emotional, financial, physical, and sexual abuse. Family violence not only harms the victim, but also presents dangers for immediate family members.

Children are frequently victims of or witnesses to violence, abuse, and other crimes, including domestic violence.

Exposure to violence at a young age can harm a child’s emotional, psychological, and even physical development. Children exposed to violence are more likely to have difficulty in school, abuse drugs or alcohol, act aggressively, and suffer from depression.

To support children who may have to participate in the justice system as a victim or witness for any reason, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) funded the development of a series of products and resources — the Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials. For children of all ages, these items provide age-appropriate information and support on how the justice system works and how they can cope with difficult feelings.

Domestic violence, also referred to as intimate partner violence, can include physical violence, sexual violence, threats of violence, psychological/emotional violence, and stalking. Violence by an intimate partner is linked to both immediate and long-term health, social, and economic consequences.

Unlike most other crimes, domestic violence is not often a sudden, isolated, or unexpected incident. For victims, it may involve years of emotional and psychological trauma, as well as physical injuries that become more severe or occur more frequently over time.

Unfortunately, many victims of domestic violence do not view themselves as a victim. Law enforcement, child and family services workers, community leaders, educators, coaches, and family members all have a critical role in identifying, intervening, and providing treatment in cases of domestic violence.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline, a program supported by OVC, is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week for victims experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources and information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.

To help identify what has been shown to be successful or promising in addressing family violence, the CrimeSolutions website contains reviews and ratings of a variety of programs and practices that aim to prevent family violence, help victims, and reduce the impact to those who witness such violence.

Visit the following pages for information and resources from the Office of Justice Programs and other federal sources related to understanding, preventing, and responding to family violence:

Date Modified: October 8, 2021
Date Created: August 14, 2020