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Domestic Violence - Frequently Asked Questions

Domestic Violence and Victim Services Programs

The Domestic Violence and Victim Services Programs unit contracts for services to victims, manages the state domestic violence perpetrator treatment program, and provides policy analysis, technical assistance and training opportunities for service providers and others throughout the State of Washington.

What is Domestic Violence?
Shelter and Assistance
Child Support
WorkFirst and TANF
Treatment Programs for Perpetrators
Who can receive help with a Domestic Violence situation?
How can I find help or resources?
How can I find out more about Domestic Violence?


What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is when one person in an intimate relationship believes they have the right to criticize or control their partner's feelings, behavior, and actions. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual or emotional. In its extreme form, it can result in death.

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) administers several programs that may provide assistance to victims of domestic violence and treatment for perpetrators. These services include:

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Shelter and Assistance

DSHS provides funding to local community based agencies that offer safe shelter and services to victims of domestic violence and their children. To locate a program in your community or to find help, contact Washington's Violence Against Women Network, or call the Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-562-6025. The hotline is accessible to the deaf and non-English speaking individuals.

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Child Support

DSHS administers the Child Support Resource Center for the State of Washington. If you think you are entitled to child support but you are afraid for your safety because of family violence issues, there are some child support options you should consider.

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WorkFirst and TANF

WorkFirst is the program that provides Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). There are certain work and job search activities required to receive benefits. If participating in these activities might place you or your family in danger of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, WorkFirst may be able to offer some flexibility.

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Treatment Programs for Perpetrators

DSHS sets standards and certifies agencies that provide treatment to perpetrators of domestic violence. DSHS does not provide direct treatment to perpetrators, and it does not pay for individuals to obtain treatment.

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Who can receive help with a Domestic Violence situation?

Programs for victims of domestic violence in Washington State are generally furnished by local agencies, with some receiving funding and oversight from DSHS. Persons interested in receiving help for a situation of domestic violence should inquire locally about resources available or call the numbers listed below.

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How can I find help or resources?

To locate resources and other information on domestic violence, consult one of the following resources:

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How can I find out more about Domestic Violence?

The State of Washington has brochures about Domestic Violence. You can request them from DSHS Forms and Publications

  • Family Violence and Child Support: Your Options, DSHS 22-274(X)(Rev. 3/98)
  • Legal Issues in Domestic Violence, DSHS 22-235(X)(Rev. 6/99)
  • Living in Fear: Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline, DSHS 22-787(X)(Rev. 10/00)
  • Open the Door: Washington WorkFirst and Domestic Violence, DSHS 22-265(X)(Rev. 5/00)
  • Safety Plan Pocket Guide, DSHS 22-276(X)(Rev. 10/98)
  • What You Should Know About Your Abusive Partner, DSHS 22-309(x)(Rev. 8/99)
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