October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Here are the resources available to get help in Allegheny County | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Here are the resources available to get help in Allegheny County

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. On average, 20 people experience intimate partner violence every minute in the U.S. In Pennsylvania, 122 people died from domestic violence in 2018. 

Domestic violence is present across every age, race, gender, and socio-economic category. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as the use of willful abusive behaviors — including physical violence, sexual violence, financial and psychological abuse — as part of a systematic pattern of control perpetuated by one intimate partner against another.

Domestic abuse is not always fatal, however, various factors such as the presence of a gun in the home, gender identity, sexual orientation, and age can contribute to an increased risk of death.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), formed in 1976, is one of the oldest statewide domestic violence coalitions in the nation. The PCADV website contains statistics about domestic violence in Pennsylvania, educational material on what abuse may look like, and connects those who might need it with confidential services and resources.

The website also is equipped with a “safety exit” feature for visitors who might be in immediate danger that will close the PCADV tab and replace it with weather.com via pressing the "esc" key.

Despite the frequency at which domestic violence occurs, many individuals are unaware of how to recognize abuse or what steps to take if they or a loved one were a victim of domestic violence. Below you'll find a list of resources for people living in Pittsburghers to identify abuse and find the channels to get help.

Common Signs of Abuse

Domestic violence often involves an imbalance of power and control. Most organizations point to common, recurring signs that could help both those currently experiencing or concerned about someone who may be experiencing intimate partner violence.

According to the PCADV, common signs of domestic violence may include:

  • Name-calling or demeaning comments
  • Someone that seems too good to be true early in a relationship; the relationship may advance very quickly
  • Frequent phone calls or texts
  • Threatens to harm or kill you, your pet(s), or family members
  • Blames you for the abusive behavior; does not take responsibility for actions
  • Prevents you from spending time with family or friends and from enjoying hobbies and other activities
  • Damages your credit by exceeding limits, purposely not paying bills, etc; may restrict your access to financial resources


Signs for recognizing abuse in others:

  • Their partner puts them down in front of others
  • They're constantly worried about making their partner angry
  • They make excuses for their partner's behavior
  • Their partner is jealous and possessive


But not all abuse is equally visible. According to a study from the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, financial abuse occurs in 99 percent of all domestic violence cases. While there are many shelters, hotlines, and educational resources available, survivors of domestic violence agree financial empowerment is the most effective method of preventing victims from returning to their abusive partners.

The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse started educating people about the role of financial abuse in intimate partner violence and providing funding to coalitions and organizations seeking to help end the cycle of violence through financial empowerment.

Resources in Pittsburgh

Eight people in Allegheny County lost their lives to domestic violence last year. But the county has several resources, including shelters, available to those living in the area.

Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh

24 Hour Hotline: (877) 338-8255  |  24 Hour Toll-Free Hotline: (877) 338-8255

Shelter Intake and Crisis Counseling 24 hours

Crisis Center North

24 Hour CCN Hotline: (412) 364-5556  |  24 Hour Toll-Free Hotline: (866) 782-0911

Safe Home Intake and Crisis Counseling 24 hours

Alle-Kiski Area Hope Center- Tarentum

24 Hour Hotline: (724) 224-1266  |  24 Hour Toll-Free Hotline: (888) 299-4673

Shelter Intake and Crisis Counseling 24 hours


Administrative Office: (412) 664-7146  |  24 Hour Toll-Free Hotline: (866) 202-5573

Shelter Intake and Crisis Counseling 24 hours

Because of the nature of domestic violence, the address of these shelters is not posted on the county’s website, but they can be accessed by calling the hotline.

Risks of Dating and Domestic Violence for College Students

Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are most likely to experience intimate partner violence. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports 21 percent of college students have experienced dating violence by a current partner and 32 percent experienced dating violence from a former partner.

While 38 percent of college students report not knowing how to get help for themselves if they were experiencing dating violence, more than 57 percent report they are unaware of how to recognize abuse.

In addition to local and national resources, college and university students in Pittsburgh experiencing dating violence can turn to their schools Title IX office for help.

University of Pittsburgh — Katie Pope

2nd Floor Webster Hall, 4415 Fifth Ave



Carnegie Mellon University — Elizabeth Rosemeyer

140 Cyert Hall, 5000 Forbes Avenue



Duquesne University — Lee K. Robbins



Point Park University — Vanessa Love

703 Student Center, 201 Wood Street



Title IX offices not listed above can be found using the American Association of University Women’s Title IX coordinator directory.

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment