Intimate Partner Violence

 You’re worthy of a healthy relationship. You deserve to be treated better. You’ve done nothing wrong.

Verbal or physical abuse is not love. It’s not normal. It’s not ever something you deserve or have brought on yourself. Abuse is intentional, unwarranted, and wrong. You never have to stay in an abusive relationship or continue to hide from a past partner.

While facing an abuser is difficult, and taking legal action is intimidating, there are people and services available to help you get out of the relationship safely and move forward.

If you’re ready to take steps against an abuser, learn more about how Crisis Center North can help. If at any time you’re in fear for your life, dial 911.

What is intimate partner violence?

Any type of physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse that happens between you and a current or former partner, spouse, or someone you’re dating is considered intimate partner violence. You may have also heard the terms “domestic violence” or “domestic abuse.” These are all one in the same.

Intimate partner violence can occur among straight or same-sex couples, and you don’t have to be sexually intimate with the person for it to still be considered abuse.

Forms of intimate partner violence

Abuse can take on many forms. It is most often illegal and always unjustified.

Physical abuse

  • Pushing, shoving, slapping, hitting, punching, kicking, strangling, choking, or burning you
  • Throwing objects at you
  • Forcing alcohol or drugs on you
  • Threatening to harm you or a loved one, physically or with a weapon
  • Depriving you of basic human needs, like sleep, food, or health care

Psychological and emotional abuse

  • Treating you or talking to you in a way that makes you feel like you’re not good enough or you can never do anything right
  • Making you feel ashamed, embarrassed, afraid, helpless, or depressed
  • Actively criticizing, insulting, or putting you down
  • Telling you what you can or cannot do, or who you can or cannot talk to or see
  • Withholding money or necessary resources from you • Making you fearful of your partner’s temper or mood swings
  • Being overly protective, jealous, or controlling

Sexual abuse

  • Forcing you to do sexual acts against your will, unwanted touching, or rape
  • Stopping you from using birth control or refusing to use other forms of sexual protection

Actions you can take against abuse

1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men over the age of 18 have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.*

Remember, you always have the right to seek medical attention, save evidence, and take legal action against your abuser. Here are a few steps to consider:

  • Confide in someone you trust and ask for help.
  • Contact a local shelter to learn specific actions you can take or for a place to stay.
  • Make a safety plan:
    • Have an escape route for you and any children.
    • Know the location of the nearest phone or hide a cell phone in a safe place.
    • Have and hide an emergency bag with cash, clothing, car keys, and important documents like your: driver’s license, financial/public assistance papers, health records, and your Social Security, insurance, and credit cards.
  • Request a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order which:
    • Restrains the person from further harming you. 
    • Orders the abuser to leave your household. 
    • Prevents the person from contacting or harassing you at home, work, or school. 
    • Gives you temporary custody of children and orders the abuser to pay temporary support.

Getting the help you need

AHN partners with Crisis Center North,  a Pittsburgh-based counseling and resource center, to connect you to the help you need:

  • Counseling
  • Safety planning
  • Safe shelter
  • Permanent housing
  • Legal and economic advocacy
  • Transportation services

Call (412) 364-5556 for their FREE, confidential 24/7 hotline. You can learn more about services, schedule an appointment to speak to a counselor, or just chat through your circumstances.

Text (412) 444-7660 to chat confidentially with a counselor.

Crisis Center North counselors are also available at three AHN locations — AHN Allegheny General Hospital, AHN Federal North Outpatient Services, and AHN West Penn Hospital.

Additional resources

There are many other local shelters and counselors available to help. Take a look at additional domestic abuse resources for women.

Contact us

Need to get in touch with an AHN Inclusion Health provider? Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment.