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Domestic Violence | Spokane, WA
Domestic Violence

  • Domestic violence impacts everyone in the community.  Domestic violence is a silent epidemic that continues to take its toll in communities throughout the country and around the world.  Nearly one in four women, one in seven men and more than three million children in the United States are affected by domestic violence. Domestic violence organizations throughout the country are conducting critical work each day to prevent violence while advocating for the rights and safety of survivors.

  • The Spokane Family Justice Center (930 N. Monroe Street) is located inside the YWCA (listed below).  Police officers and detectives, prosecutors and advocates work together in this office to support victims of domestic violence.  Services are offered in one place to make it easier for victims to get the help, hope and safety they need.

  • Domestic violence includes:  physical assault or battery; sexual assault; or other abusive behavior that results in physical injury, psychological trauma, progressive social isolation, stalking, deprivation, intimidation and threats, and/or death.  A partner who controls money, freedom to move around, or access to life necessities, is also committing domestic violence.   (American Society of Addiction Medicine; Futures Without Violence; and Coming through in a clutch, Erica Schreiber, YWCA in Spokane, The Spokesman-Review, October 10, 2013) 

  • Connection between Substance abuse and Domestic violence.  Certainly, not everyone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is abusive (whether physically, mentally, or both) towards his or her partner. Likewise, not every domestic violence abuser has an issue with substance abuse or misuse; however, statistics tell us that, far too often, the two do go hand in hand.

    As many as 50% of men in batterer intervention programs have some type of substance addiction. Moreover, violence on their part is 8 to 11 times more likely on days in which they have consumed alcohol.

    LGBT community.  While an estimated 85% of domestic violence victims are female, with women having a 5 to 8 times greater chance of being victimized than men, there is also a true and real concern about abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) relationships. In fact, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that one out of every two lesbians will experience some type of domestic violence in their lives and two out of five gay and bisexual men will as well—a rate which they point out “is comparable to the amount of domestic violence experienced by heterosexual women.”

    Victims of abuse. 
    Substance abuse doesn’t just affect the abuser, either. The National Resource Center goes on to explain that somewhere between 25 and 50% of all female victims have some sort of substance abuse issue themselves, with an additional 55 to 99% of substance-abusing women being victimized at least once in their lives. In this way, being abused can increase your risk of developing a substance addiction and developing a substance addiction can increase your risk of being abused.  This creates a perpetual cycle that can oftentimes be difficult to stop.

    The connection between substance abuse and domestic violence includes factors such as the abuser growing up in a home that had one or both issues present and the abuser having the belief that substance abuse contributes to more abusive and violent behavior, thus continuing to perpetuate that belief. This TIP goes on to indicate that over 50% of individuals accused of killing their spouses did so while under the influence of alcohol, further highlighting this strong connection.   (source:  Identifying a Connection Between Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence, by Kathleen Mills PA-C, The Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) for Substance Abuse Treatment and Domestic Violence, June 21, 2016, http://www.RehabCenter.net

  • Negative Consequences of Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence.  Substance abuse comes with its own significant costs as well. The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that the medical consequences alone of this type of addiction include facing major issues with organs like the heart, liver, and lungs. This, in addition to suffering with weakened immune systems, can take a huge toll if you are battling a disease such as HIV, AIDS, or a form of cancer.

    There are many negative consequences to being in this type of relationship, a number of which are lesser known or not often considered. Futures Without Violence (FWV) brings up several of them:

    • A lower quality of health. Experiencing violence in a relationship increases the victim’s risk of stroke by 80%, heart disease by 70%, and asthma by 60%.  In addition, dealing with physical injuries that are a direct result of the violence.

    • A greater likelihood of developing a substance abuse issue by the victim. FWV says that they are “70% more likely to drink heavily” than those who have not experienced some type of intimate partner violence.

    • Higher costs associated with more necessary medical and mental care, in addition to missed work (costs that FWV estimates to be in the billions when considering the effect to society overall).

    • There are mental effects of substance abuse to consider, says http://www.DrugAbuse.net, such as depression, paranoia,  anxiety, and living in fear. And this doesn’t take into consideration the impact drug and alcohol abuse can have in other areas of a person’s life. It can likely negatively affect his or her relationships (with both family and friends) and the ability to retain a job. It can sometimes even impact one’s freedom, if the drug or alcohol abuse is illegal in nature or releases the person’s inhibitions enough to allow them to engage in criminal behavior, resulting in a jail or prison term.  (Source:  Identifying a Connection Between Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence, by Kathleen Mills PA-C, June 21, 2016, http://www.RehabCenter.net
  • Alcohol can increase the severity of the abuse, but it does not cause the abuse due to what is customarily considered a loss of control over one’s temper. This is actually contradictory to what domestic violence is, as it is violence intended “to exert power and control over another; so it does not always represent a loss of control.”

    A person under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both may misperceive or misinterpret a partner’s behaviors or actions, potentially increasing the likelihood of a violence-based response. Misuse of substances can also “increase the user’s sense of personal power and domination over others.” It is the exercising of this control that can turn abusive in nature.

    While there is a link between substance abuse and domestic violence, it is “not a direct link.” In other words, a person’s consumption of drugs and/or alcohol may increase the risk of violence, but it’s also important to realize that it’s not an excuse for abusive behavior. Additionally, it is just one of many other factors that can affect or agitate a person’s violent tendencies, some of which include growing up around violence, being taught that violence is acceptable, and wanting power or control.  (“Substance Abuse and Woman Abuse by Male Partners,” Dr. Larry W. Bennett, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Jane Addams College of Social Work, a well-known researcher in this field, printed by VAWnet, the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women)

  • Warning signs to watch for:

    • Your partner exhibits jealousy toward your friends, disliking any time that you spend without him or her to be with them, thus encouraging you to break your connections or distance yourself from those you normally hang out or associate with.
    • Constantly telling you that you do things incorrectly, embarrassing you, or making you feel bad in front of others for your actions (or inactions).
    • Controlling your finances to the point where you can’t make any purchases or money-related decisions on your own—even if it’s only a couple dollars.
    • Not allowing you to make any sort of decision whatsoever, even simple decisions such as those related to eating and sleeping, without his or her input or approval.
    • Stopping you from working, going to school, or having any other outside activities that may bring you joy or enable you to advance yourself personally or professionally.
    • Damaging your personal items, especially those that mean something to you emotionally.
    • Hurting or killing your pets, or threatening to hurt or kill them.
    • Threatening to hurt or take away your kids, because you are a “bad parent.”
    • Using some type of weapon to intimidate you.
      (Source:  National Domestic Violence Hotline)

  • Many domestic violence cases are never reported. 
  • Domestic violence happens to people of all educational and income levels and all races.
  • A battering incident is rarely isolated.  It usually recurs and escalates in severity.
  • Attacks by husbands on wives result in more injuries that require medical treatment than rape, auto accidents, and muggings combined.
  • Male batterers are not violent in other relationships at work or with friends.
  • Youth violence and adult domestic violence are directly connected.   Adolescents who witnessed and engaged in violent behavior throughout their teen years were more likely to engage in domestic violence in their mid-20’s than other young adults. 


  • Spokane averages 565 domestic violence calls a month, just in the city.  (Lt. Daniel Ervin, “DV action month draws attention to underreported problem,” The Spokesman-Review, Oct. 14, 2017) 
(same report:)  “We spoke to and helped 338 people just in the month of September.”  (Courtney Pettitt, YWCA’s Family Justice Center) 

  • In 2015, nine people died because of domestic violence in Spokane County - 8 homicides and 1 suicide.  In 2014, there were 4 homicides and 2 suicides due to domestic violence in the County; and in 2013, 2 homicides and 2 suicides.  The numbers have been rising statewide, also.  (Kelly Starr, managing director of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

  • Domestic violence as a public concern affects more women than breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and lung cancer combined.  (Regina Malaveaux, CEO of the YWCA of Spokane, "Domestic violence deaths on rise despite new laws, help," by Judith Spitzer, The Spokesman-Review, October 30, 2016)

  • The rate of domestic violence offenses reported to Spokane County law enforcement was 8.7 per 1,000 population in 2013. This was significantly higher than Washington state (5.9 per 1,000).  From 2009 to 2013, the rate significantly increased.   (Spokane Counts 2015, page 11, Spokane Regional Health District)
  • The YWCA in Spokane reports:  In 2014, they received 3,628 calls on their domestic violence crisis line, and served 12,074 people.  (YWCA's Growing Stronger Together 2014 Annual Report)

  • Make the Call.  One in 3 women experience physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.  

One in 4 men experience physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

  On a typical day, more than 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. 

    Verizon Wireless Hopeline Program

  • One in 3 teens and young adults (college students) will experience physical abuse in a dating relationship (32%).  Other forms of abuse increase the number, and some studies say that it is as high as 70%.
  • Substance abuse occurs in conjunction with intimate partner violence anywhere from 40 to 60% of the time.  Additionally, approximately 20% of abusive males admit to consuming some type of drug and/or alcoholic beverage before acting aggressively toward their partners. (American Society of Addiction Medicine)

  • Lack of Reporting.  Family violence is believed to be the most common and least reported crime.  The FBI estimates only 1 in 10 offenses are reported.  (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
  • The average woman will leave an abuser 7 to 8 times before making the final break.
  • 70% of men who batter their wives also batter their children.  Children growing up in violent households are 300% more likely to be victims of violence themselves.  
  • 40-60% of children living in homes where adult abuse occurs also experience direct abuse themselves. All experience indirect abuse.  (Wright R. J.; Wright R. O.; Isaac N. E.; 1997, Response to battered mothers in the pediatric emergency department: A call for an approach to family violence, Pediatrics 1997, vol. 99, no .2, pp. 186-192)
  • 79% of spouse abuse is committed by men who are divorced or separated from their wives.  (Statistics Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc.) 
  • Domestic violence perpetrated by males accounted for more adult female emergency room visits than traffic accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. It is the single greatest cause of injury to American women. He declared it a national health crisis.  (From the Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, U.S. Public Health Policy,” Journal of the American Medical Association 267 (1992): 3132)
  • Religion is NOT a deterrent...there is just as much abuse (spousal, child and sexual abuse) in Christian homes as in non-Christian homes.  (Lee Bowker, “Religious Victims and Their Religious Leaders: Services Delivered to One Thousand Battered Women by the Clergy,” Abuse and Religion, pg 230-31) 

  • Idaho sees an incident of domestic violence between spouses, ex-spouses or those in dating relationships once every 88 minutes.  In 2012, the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence worked with 21,631 victims.  In 2011, Idaho reported 5,715 incidents of domestic violence, in which 22 people died.  Keep in mind, these are only the reported stats.  There are many that go unreported.   (Luann Dettman, director of the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance) 
What You Can Do
  • If you are being abused, do not let fear paralyze you.  Ask for help.  Call 9-1-1 in an Emergency.  If this is not an emergency, call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.  Additional resources are listed on this page. 
  • The ASPIRE News App is disguised as an ordinary app on your phone; but what's wonderful about it, is that you can pre-record a message or a text that can be sent to a trusted contact, even 911.  It is called the Go button, and you tap it 3 times, and that immediately goes to those trusted contacts. It also records what is happening in the room; so if when the police come, and they say, "What happened?" and your abuser says, "She started it," or "He started it," now you have it recorded. 

    You can visit iTunes or the Android app store to download the free ASPIRE app for your smart phone. It has been recognized on Capitol Hill as one of the two best apps for helping to prevent domestic  violence.  (Robin McGraw Foundation, Dr. Phil Show, May 17, 2016)  https://www.whengeorgiasmiled.org/the-aspire-news-app/

  • Prevent Abuse.  Citizens must make every effort to prevent all forms of abuse, and to assist in the healing of an abused person.  
  • Domestic violence and sexual abuse will not end until the men in our community, state and the nation stand up and say they will put a stop to the abuse of their wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, and all females.  Prevention and consequences of abuse must be addressed from the schools to the prisons, from business meetings to families.

    "Communities are often the key to reducing domestic violence fatalities.  Victims tend to turn to friends, family and co-workers for help much of the time.  If you are that one person that a victim turns to, do you have the right information to help that person?  If people are turning to community rather than systems, we need people to be involved, and we need community as a whole involved.  That's where the solution is going to be for this."   (Kelly Starr, managing director of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence) 

    "That includes men. The accountability method of one man telling another man that 'I will not stand for the way you treat women' is far more effective than a group of women saying the same thing."  (Morgan Colburn, the YWCA's associate director of counseling and outreach)

    "Clearly, men are most often the perpetrators, but men need to stand up and say, 'This is wrong!'"  In speaking of the behaviors that precede the physical violence, Kelly spoke of the "power and control wheel" which resonated deeply with him.  That's an info-graphic showing how an abuser may use dominance, children, economics, coercion and threats, emotional and psychological abuse and isolation, as well as physical assaults, to take control of a woman's life and circumstances. (Doug Kelly, an Avista regional account executive who heads up a group informally called the Good Guys)   (source:  "Domestic Violence deaths on rise despite new laws, help," by Judith Spitzer, The Spokesman-Review, October 30, 2016)
  • “Men play an important role in our nation's efforts to stop violence against women. All men have the opportunity to serve as role models for other men and boys in regards to the treatment of women and girls. Boys need to be taught at a young age that violence against women is wrong and will not be tolerated. Men are in a unique position to communicate this message in a strong, compassionate, and meaningful way. Working in partnership, men and women together can make enormous strides toward changing attitudes and perceptions around domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.” (The U.S. Department of Justice.  For more information, visit the U.S. Dept. of Justice at http://www.justice.gov/ to find links to organizations and institutions around the country that are addressing the role of men in ending violence against women. http://ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/172837.pdf  
  • Fathers.  Never tolerate disrespect from your children toward their mother.  Teach your sons to treat their sisters appropriately and with respect.  Teach your sons how to treat women, and teach your daughters to demand that kind of treatment from men throughout their lives.  
  • Employers. You can help your employees who are in violent and abusive relationships.  Learn how to recognize when employees are in danger, provide mandatory training, and refer them to those who can help.  When possible, be willing to relocate those in danger.  Abuse can lead to poor work performance, arriving late, and calling in sick often.  
  • Offer to act as an advocate for women obtaining protective orders during court hearings and other client appointments.
  • Donate needed items to the crisis shelters.  Many women arrive with their children, a sack of clothes, and nothing for keeping house.  Donate bedding, dishes, and stuffed animals for the children. 

  • Donate your old cell phones, batteries and accessories, which can be given to victims of domestic violence to allow them to call 911 in an emergency, and give survivors of domestic violence a voice.

    Millions of Americans are affected by domestic violence every day, and in these situations, a phone can be a precious lifeline.  For survivors, phones can provide independence and emotional security, while playing a crucial role in helping keep them safe.  

Using their phones, people can make arrangements to leave their abusers and call for help during violent situations.

  Some states require that survivors be notified if their attackers are released from jail.  Having a consistent phone number enables officials to notify victims to be on alert.

 When survivors initially leave their abusers, they often move between shelters.  Phones enable them to stay in contact with loved ones, employers, and service providers.

    Donate a cell phone to the YWCA of Spokane - Alternatives to Domestic Violence.  (see their listing below)  They have a phone drop-off bin located at their front desk.  This building is open from 6 am to 10 pm, Monday - Sunday.  Phones which are in very good condition are given to their victims of domestic violence.  Other phones are shipped out and sold, and the proceeds from those sales is returned to the YWCA's programs.  

    Learn how to prepare your phone for donation, including how to wipe data from the phone: 

    Find out how to delete personal information before donating your phone.
    http://www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.  (HopeLine from Verizon Wireless)

  • Hairdressers.  Give haircuts to women and children in shelters.
  • Therapists.  Provide pet therapy, art therapy, and recreation therapy for victims of abuse.
  • Answer crisis hotline phones.
  • Assist with crisis intervention.
  • Volunteer to make safety checks on women at risk by telephone.
Local Organizations
Additional Resources
(509) 326-CALL (2255)  YWCA's 24-hour Crisis Helpline.  Phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  We serve all survivors of intimate partner violence, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex.
Call if you are aware of a crime of abuse in progress, or if you feel threatened.

NOTE:  Spokane Police Dept. has a Spokane Police Officers Domestic Violence Team, which is a group of officers and detectives who are trained in dealing with domestic violence.  They are trained to help the victim understand the level of risk in their particular situation.  This team is also located at: 

Spokane Family Justice Center
930 N. Monroe Street
Spokane, WA
(inside the YWCA)
A team of police officers and detectives, prosecutors and advocates work together in this office to support victims of domestic violence.  They handle the criminal complaint and explain the judicial process.  Three days after the initial abuse report, a police officer or deputy will follow up with a home visit, asking whether the situation has stabilized and whether the victim feels safe.  Services are offered in one place to make it easier for victims to get the help, hope and safety they need.

Alternatives to Domestic Violence - YWCA of Spokane

Their 24-hour domestic violence helpline: (509) 326-2255, or 326-1190.   
Your call is anonymous.

Children’s’ Protective Services (CPS)

(509) 363-3333
Call if you suspect sexual or physical abuse of a child. 

Domestic Violence Hotline for Help:  

Miryam's House
(program of Transitions)
1805 W. 9th Avenue 
Spokane, WA  99204
(509) 747-9222
Housing for women recovering from crises related to homelessness, abuse, addiction and displacement.  Housing is offered for one year with a focus on promoting permanent changes through healing, learning and growth toward self-sufficiency and financial stability.

Spokane County treatment programs.  Dual treatment programs exist. Treatment of substance abuse and domestic violence on their own can oftentimes be difficult, but add them together and finding a suitable and sustainable treatment program suddenly becomes tremendously more complex. That’s why it is so important to choose a dual-diagnosis treatment facility that is knowledgeable and experienced with both.  Find local resources at Rehab Center: http://www.rehabcenter.net/domestic-violence-and-substance-abuse/

Spokane County Regional Domestic Violence Consortium
(509) 477-3787 

The National Domestic Violence Helpline
1-866-363-4276 (24-hour toll-free abuse helpline)

Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery  
(509) 535-3155

Victims Response Team Crisis Line
24-hour help line available in Spokane
(509) 624-7273

Women's Healing and Empowerment Network
(509) 323-2120
Focused on serving clients who identify as Christian.  Abused women of faith are more likely to stay in an abusive relationship, because they have been misled to believe it is their duty as a good Christian wife and/or mother to obey and accept the mental or physical abuse from their partner.  Some of these women are fearful of the moral repercussions of breaking up a marriage or a family. 

Although WHEN's main focus is supporting women who have been abused, the organization also hosts an annual conference that offers workshops to support male domestic violence victims, and to educate male abusers who are aware of their ways and seek to make a change. 

To find help, see W.H.E.N. on this site.