Get Educated

DAP First Call

612.874.7063 | 10:00am-4:00pm Monday-Friday

DAP First Call is a resource for you.

First Call is staffed by therapists, interns, and volunteers who are trained to assist you. They’re experts in our programs and can help you sign up for a group or find the services you’re looking for.
If DAP doesn’t offer it, we can help you find someone who does!

If this is an emergency, call 9-1-1.


Definition of Abuse

Abuse is a pattern of behavior that is used to gain and/or maintain control and power over another person. At DAP, we know that power and control tactics take a lot of forms, and show up in relationships of all shapes and sizes.

It can be helpful to think of domestic violence in the following categories, but it’s important to remember that abusive behavior is very complex, and doesn’t always fit neatly into these boxes:


Physical abuse is forceful or violent physical behavior. This form of abuse is often what comes to mind when we think of domestic violence.

Examples include:

  • any kind of injury with a weapon
  • hitting, slapping, or punching
  • choking
  • burning
  • pushing or restraining
  • scratching
  • grabbing
  • spitting on or biting
  • kicking

We also consider it physical abuse if a person threw an object at someone else.


Sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual act or behavior. Forcing someone to have sex when they don’t want to, are unable to consent (because they’re drunk or high or asleep, for example), or afraid to say no is all abusive behavior.

We also consider it sexual abuse if a person:

  • insists that you dress in a certain way, or makes demeaning remarks about how you dress
  • makes demeaning remarks about your body and/or body parts
  • minimizes your feelings about sex
  • berates you about your sexual history or blames you for sexual abuse
  • insists on touching you sexually when you do not want to be touched, either when the two of you are alone or in the presence of others
  • calls you sexualized names, like “whore” or “slut”
  • forces you to perform any specific sexual act that you do not wish to do


Emotional abuse is harder to pin down or prove, but it’s just as destructive as other, more obvious forms of violence. We consider it domestic abuse if a person makes cruel, unfair comments or otherwise emotionally attacks their partner in order to gain power or control over that person.

This might include:

  • swearing or screaming at you
  • repeatedly harassing, interrogating or degrading you
  • attacking your self-esteem or insulting you, such as name-calling, put-downs, and ridicule
  • attacking or insulting people you care for, like your family and friends
  • blaming you for everything that goes wrong
  • forcing you to do degrading things, like making you kneel, or making you beg for money
  • criticizing your thoughts, feelings, opinions, beliefs, and actions
  • being extremely jealous
  • telling you that you are “sick” or “crazy” and need therapy
  • using physical disabilities against you, or putting you down for your disability


Psychological abuse is any threat to do bodily harm to a partner, a child, a family member, friends, pets, or one’s self (suicide).  Psychological abuse involves not only hurt and anger, but also fear and degradation.  This type of abuse makes a person feel constantly insecure and helpless.

We would consider it abusive if someone:

  • threatens to hurt you
  • threatens to harm himself/herself to punish you
  • threatens to hurt your children, pets, family members, or friends
  • makes vague threats, like “You’re going to get it,” or “Next time this will be you!”
  • smashes, breaks, or throws things; punches walls and slamming doors
  • hides, steals, or destroys your possessions
  • controls your behavior,  like keeping you from seeing friends, following you, or monitoring your phone conversations
  • uses money to control you, like taking money from you, or forcing you to ask for money