What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.


Types of Domestic Violence

Factors that Lead to Domestic Violence

A combination of individual, relationship, community, and societal factors contribute to violence in households.

  • Substance abuse, alcohol, tobacco
  • History of victimization
  • Early aggressive behavior and high emotional distress
  • Poor behavioral control
  • Poor academic performance
  • Antisocial beliefs and attitudes due to social rejection
  • Exposure to conflict and violence in the family
  • Low parental involvement in monitoring and supervision of children
  • Parental substance abuse and criminality
  • Association with delinquent peers and/or gangs
  • Diminished economic opportunities


Join Our Campaigns

Cameron County Public Health is actively raising awareness in our community to decrease and prevent Domestic Violence in Cameron County households.

If you would like to be a part of this initiative, follow our social media platforms for more updates on how to raise awareness against Domestic Violence.

CASA of Cameron County

Friendship of Women

Know the Signs

Determining if someone is abused in their households can be difficult unless you see it first-hand. However, many signs can indicate if the person is going through abuse, and we have to be aware of these signs in order to help the individual.

Signs include:

  • Visible injuries such as bruises in different areas of the body and face, rope marks, or welts
  • Broken bones
  • Untreated injuries
  • Marks on the neck, wrists, or other evident signs of restraint
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Individuals who avoid conversations, including withdrawing from family and friends
  • Emotional agitation
  • Intimidation through threats and use of weapons or objects
  • Coercion, taking away of power to convince victim to act certain way
  • Ridiculing
  • Harassment
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Pressure to use alcohols and substances
  • Pressure to have sex or perform sexual acts that makes victim uncomfortable
  • Intentionally destroying belongings or personal objects
  • Yelling and/or using profanity to damage self-esteem
  • Gaslighting by making victim question its judgement or reality

*If you, or someone you know is experiencing these signs, please seek emergency help immediately by dialing 911 or you can speak with a professional by dialing 800-799-7233 or Text START to 88788. 


The Cycle of Abuse, Toxic is NOT Okay

The Cycle of Abuse, sometimes referred as the Cycle of Violence, is defined as the predictable phases that occur in abusive relationships. 

It is characterized when a person uses abusive threats and behaviors to control their partner. This unhealthy environment might occur during an intimate relationship between two youth or adults, regardless of their age, and it’s also linked to dating violence.

The cycle is composed of 6 main phases:

  1. Abuse
    • Abuser uses any of the types of violence against the victim.
  2. Guilt
    • Abuser may apologize for committed actions, but does not feel guilty or sorry for harming the victim. The apology is designed to evade consequences or accountability of abuse.
  3. Excuse
    • Abuser makes excuses and victimizes recalling childhood experiences and use of substances. Also, abuser blames the victim using statements to abdicate responsibilities.
  4. Normal Behavior
    • Abuser acts as if nothing has happened using tactics like being romantic and charming just to regain power over the victim by “buying” back their trust.
  5. Fantasy
    • Abuser plans next act as its power feels activated reflecting on past abuse and how it would make the victim pay. Abuser fabricates accusations against the victim like having an affair.
  6. Set-up
    • Plan is set to action by setting up the victim to begin the cycle again. 

Domestic Violence in Children

Children exposed to domestic violence can be victims of physical abuse and have serious risk for long-term physical and mental health problems. They often struggle to trust people, worry, side with abuser to be safe, yet put themselves at risk, struggle to focus at school, develop cognitive disorders, and experiment with alcohol, drugs and other toxic substances later on in life.

These children are at a greater risk to repeat the cycle as adults either by entering into an abusive relationship or becoming abusers themselves. Children should learn that abuse is not good, and a safe environment is a priority. Children can sense tension and fear, and it is very important to listen to them by letting them know that is not their fault.



What Does the Data Say?

National statistics state that nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men 18 years of age or older have experienced domestic violence.
  • Annually, 1,500 deaths occur in the United States due to domestic violence.
  • More than 3 million children have experienced domestic violence in their households.
  • Each year, over 3 million referrals have been made to child protective authorities.
  • According to the CDC, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced physical violence by their intimate partner at some point of their lifetime.
  • Approximately 3% to 10% of the elder population have experienced abuse.
In Texas, according to the Texas Family Violence Statistics (2021):
  • 6,113 victims were served by family violence programs each day
  • Due to the pandemic, virtual services increased by a 750% in the last two years
Here in Cameron County, 3,209 cases of Domestic Violence were reported in 2019.
  • The Cameron County Domestic Violence Unit sees up to 1,200 cases per year, however prosecutors believe numbers should be higher as not many cases are reported to authorities.
  • In 2020, the Texas Council on Family Violence reported that 3 women died in Cameron County by their intimate partner.
  • In 2021, 10,571 survivors were assisted for Domestic violence and this year there are 7,500 and counting survivors who have reached the hotline for help.
According to the Texas Department of Family Protective Services, as of 2021 there were 4,273 confirmed victims of abuse/neglect in Cameron County.


Resources in Cameron County

  • Friendship of Women (FOW)
    • 95 E Price Rd  Unit C, Brownsville, TX 78521
    • (956) 544-7412
  • Family Crisis Center
    • 616 W Taylor Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550
    • (956) 423-9304
  • Children’s Advocacy Centers of Cameron and Willacy County
    • 2220 Haine Dr Suite #38, Harlingen TX 78550
    • (956) 361-3313
  • Maggie’s House
    • 1390 W. Expressway 83 San Benito, TX 78586
  • Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid
    • 1206 E Van Buren St, Brownsville, TX 78520
    • (956) 541-1410
  • C.A.S.A of Cameron and Willacy County
    • 1740 Boca Chica Blvd #300, Brownsville, TX 78520
    • (956) 546-6545
  • Tip of Texas Family Outreach
    • 455 E Levee St, Brownsville, TX 78520
    • (956) 541-5566