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Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abuse – emotional, physical or sexual – used by one person against another in an intimate relationship.  Both men and women can be victims of domestic violence, although the majority of victims are female. Domestic violence also occurs within gay and lesbian relationships and negatively affects children and other family members.

Domestic violence is one of the most requested calls for police service.  It can also be one of the most difficult to assess.  When officers arrive at the scene, it may be difficult to know who is telling the truth, especially if there are no obvious injuries, or if both parties have injuries.  Both parties may be intoxicated, further complicating officer's ability to assess the incident.  If injuries are obvious and officers, through their investigation, can determine who is the perpetrator, then the officers will make an arrest.

Police officers can only arrest for physical and/or sexual abuse.  Emotional abuse must contain a threat of physical violence for it to be a crime.  If the perpetrator is demeaning the victim by name-calling or other shaming accusations, but does not contain a threat of violence, it is not against the law. 

Escalation of Abuse

Domestic violence, also known as interpersonal violence or intimate partner violence, can be cyclical.  The abuse may generally escalates in the following order. Steps 5-9 often indicate past abuse, even if there was no prior police contact. Verbal and emotional abuse is always present and sexual abuse is common.

1. Throwing things, punching walls

2. Pushing, shoving, grabbing, throwing things at the victim

3. Slapping with an open hand

4. Kicking or biting

5. Hitting with a closed fist

6. Pinning victim to the floor or wall, repeated kicks or punches

7. Attempted strangulation

8. Threatening with a weapon

9. Assault with a weapon

The Arvada Police Department addresses domestic violence crime at the root level by using a multifaceted approach. This approach addresses the crime of domestic violence in all of its elements, including

  • how officers respond to the incident and deal with each domestic call,
  • the interaction between victims and advocates of Victim Outreach Information, 
  • oversight of these complex cases by the Domestic Violence Detective. 

If you are the victim or perpetrator of domestic violence… you are not alone. The Arvada Police Department Victim Services Unit is able to provide you with emotional support, resources and information about domestic violence. Please select the victim services link below to be re-directed to their webpage for further information.  

If you want more information on domestic violence you may find the Arvada Police Department Domestic Violence pamphlet useful. 

For any questions, Victim Services can be contacted at 720-898-6740.