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End Domestic Violence Awareness RibbonWhat to do if you are in an abusive relationship

If you or someone you know has experienced domestic or dating violence, you are encouraged to contact the University of Michigan Police Department (UMPD) immediately at (734) 763-1131. UMPD has a Special Victims Unit (SVU) that specializes in assisting those who have experienced interpersonal violence. Our SVU officers ensure survivors are treated with compassion and respect while navigating the criminal justice system. Additionally, confidential resources are available 24 hours a day to help you make decisions about your safety—U-M’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) at (734) 936-3333 (on campus) or Safehouse Center at (734) 995-5444 (off-campus).

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a crime. It can be a single act or a cycle of behavior in a relationship, such as marriage, dating, family or roommate. According to the University of Michigan's Abuse Hurts website, domestic violence occurs when a person uses physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or economic abuse to control another partner in a relationship.

It is important to note that women are not the only victims of abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one in four women and one in seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Domestic violence affects individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or nationality. It affects every aspect of a victim’s life and can have lasting effects on their mental and physical health, relationships and children.

Michigan Law (MCL 750.81) requires law enforcement agencies with information about a domestic violence incident to respond to, investigate and make an arrest of the offender when probable cause exists to do so. In these cases, survivors do not "press charges" — under state law, the State of Michigan is the complainant.

Did You Know?According to the National Institute of Justice, one in three women in the United States are physically abused by a partner at some point in their lives.

If you are not ready or able to seek outside help, you may find it useful to develop a safety plan for yourself. Whether you are planning to leave the relationship or not, there are ways to increase your safety.

For more information on domestic violence, visit U-M's Abuse Hurts website.