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Domestic Abuse Prevention Program

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The Domestic Abuse Prevention Program (DAPP) of the World Bank Group provides confidential services directed at preventing the escalation of domestic abuse, with a focus on early intervention and assistance for individuals who may already be impacted by an abusive relationship.

This page is designed to provide WBG staff and their spouses/partners with information on how to recognize and identify domestic abuse, how to protect oneself and loved ones, what help is available, and who to contact to get help.  Translations of the text of this page are available in French and Spanish (PDF).

On this page:

  • News / Announcements / Events
  • About the Domestic Abuse Prevention Program
  • Contacts for Help
  • Am I Being Abused?
  • What is Domestic Abuse?
  • What to Do if You or Your Children are Being Abused
  • Protecting Privacy on Your Computer
  • How You Can Help Victims of Domestic Abuse
  • Are You an Abuser?
  • WBG Policies / Consequences of Domestic Abuse
  • Domestic Abuse and the WBG Community / WBFN Publications
  • US Law and Domestic Abuse
  • External Resources
  • NOTE: Internal WBG Link - Intranet Only indicates a INTERNAL link that can only be accessed via the WBG intranet. 

    Web Addresses:Internal: http://domesticabuse Internal WBG Link - Intranet Only 

    Printable Brochure: English | Portuguese | Spanish (pdf)

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    News / Announcements / Events

    October Domestic Violence Awareness Month Events:

    Play Video IconRecent Lectures and Discussions on VIDEO:


    About the Domestic Abuse Prevention Program

    The Domestic Abuse Prevention Program (DAPP) provides confidential services aimed at helping prevent the escalation of domestic abuse by focusing on early intervention and assistance for individuals who may already be impacted by an abusive relationship. The program is based at HQ but serves all WBG staff, spouses/partners, and families around the world.

    The Domestic Abuse Prevention Coordinator is the contact person on behalf of the Domestic Abuse Prevention Task Force, an advisory network comprised of representatives from several World Bank units: Office of Ethics and Business Conduct; Legal Department; Staff Association; Corporate Security; Human Resources; Personal and Work Stress Counseling Unit of the Health Services Department; and the World Bank Family Network. Off-site participants include DV LEAP.

    VIDEO: The video Healthy Families and the Workplace provides background information and an introduction to the services of the DAPP and the Family Consultation Service.  Also available in French, and Spanish.


    Contacts for Help


    Inside the U.S.Call 911
    Outside the U.S. – Consult with the Country Office for specific procedures; also see the
    procedures for medical emergencies overseas Internal WBG Link - Intranet Only if emergency medical care is needed.

    Non-Emergency Help Inside and Outside the US:

    The DAPP Hotline: 24/7 Free Confidential Helpline
    Phone: +1-202-458-5800 (WBG DAMA 5220 85800)
    The DAPP Hotline is a free-of-charge service created specifically to provide an around-the-clock helpline for crisis assistance to WBG staff and spouses/families who are in abusive relationships. Confidential and free counseling and related supportive services are provided by experienced counselors who are trained to work with individuals and families dealing with domestic violence, cultural issues, stress, family and interpersonal conflict, and transition. Counseling can be provided in many languages other than English.

    WBG Domestic Abuse Prevention Coordinator:
    The Domestic Abuse Prevention Coordinator is available during HQ office hours to advise you and help direct you to supportive services appropriate to your particular situation.
    Phone: +1 202 473 2931

    World Bank Family Network:
    The WBFN provides various services to the more than 4,500 WBG families around the world, including support in times of family crisis, as in cases of domestic abuse.
    Phone: +1 202 458 5550

    Corporate Security:
    24hr.Emergency +1 202 458 8888
    Non-emergency +1 202 473 3333
    Text Message: +1 202 460 9244

    Personal and Work Stress Counseling Unit Internal WBG Link - Intranet Only
    Phone: +1 202 458 4457

    Note: The DAPP program may refer World Bank staff and spouses to a qualified domestic violence attorney to obtain legal information about their options and safety planning. Attorneys from DV LEAP may provide information, but not legal advice or representation in court. They also may provide referrals to private attorneys or legal services programs for representation based on the individual’s legal needs and financial situation.

    Domestic Abuse Help Mobile Website & App

    The Domestic Abuse Help Mobile Website and App are designed to help WBG staff and spouses/partners be aware of the domestic abuse-related services resources available to them, and to provide instant access to the WBG's 24/7, confidential DAPP Hotline. They also provide contact information for other resources, including the Domestic Abuse Prevention Coordinator, World Bank Family Network (WBFN), Corporate Security, and HSD's Counseling Unit, as well as a link to this web page. They are available in English, French, and Spanish.

    To Access the Mobile Website: Staff or spouses/partners with a personal device can go to "" using your mobile device's browser.

    To Access the Mobile App: Look for the app icon on your WBG-owned BlackBerry. iPhone users whose devices are registered with the Bank Group can access the app using the "Apps@Work" feature.


    Am I Being Abused?

    Provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

    Look over the following questions. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner. Remember, when one person scares, hurts or continually puts down the other person, it’s abuse.

    Does your partner…
    __ Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?
    __ Put down your accomplishments or goals?
    __ Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
    __ Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?
    __ Tell you that you are nothing without them?
    __ Treat you roughly – grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
    __ Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
    __ Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
    __ Blame you for how they feel or act?
    __ Pressure you sexually for things you aren’t ready for?
    __ Make you feel like there “is no way out” of the relationship?
    __ Prevent you from doing things you want – like spending time with your friends or family?
    __ Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to “teach you a lesson”?

    Do you…
    __ Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
    __ Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?
    __ Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
    __ Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
    __ Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
    __ Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke up?

    If any of these are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without some help, the abuse will continue.

    What is Domestic Abuse?

    Domestic abuse
    (also called "domestic violence" or "intimate partner violence"

    Domestic abuse or domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

    Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone.

    Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

    Emotional abuse

    Emotional abuse includes undermining a person's sense of self-worth through constant criticism; belittling one's abilities; name-calling or other verbal abuse; damaging a partner's relationship with the children; or not letting a partner see friends and family. You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:

    • Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you.
    • Does not trust you and acts in a jealous or possessive manner.
    • Tries to isolate you from family or friends.
    • Monitors where you go, who you call and with whom you spend your time.
    • Does not want you to work.
    • Controls finances or refuses to share money.
    • Punishes you by withholding affection.
    • Expects you to ask permission.
    • Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets.
    • Humiliates you in any way.

    Psychological abuse

    Psychological abuse is causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner or children; destruction of pets and property; “mind games”; or forcing isolation from friends, family, school and/or work.

    Financial or economic abuse

    Financial or economic abuse is making or attempting to make a person financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding access to money, and/or forbidding attendance at school or employment.

    Physical abuse

    Physical abuse is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, burning, grabbing, pinching, shoving, slapping, hair-pulling, biting, denying medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use, or using other physical force. You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner:

    • Damages property when angry (throws objects, punches walls, kicks doors, etc.).
    • Pushes, slaps, bites, kicks or chokes you.
    • Abandons you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
    • Scares you by driving recklessly.
    • Uses a weapon to threaten or hurt you.
    • Forces you to leave your home.
    • Traps you in your home or keeps you from leaving.
    • Prevents you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
    • Hurts your children.
    • Uses physical force in sexual situations.

    Sexual abuse

    Sexual abuse is forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent. You may be in a sexually abusive relationship if your partner:

    • Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
    • Wants you to dress in a sexual way.
    • Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names.
    • Has ever forced or manipulated you into having sex or performing sexual acts.
    • Holds you down during sex.
    • Demands sex when you are sick, tired or after beating you.
    • Hurts you with weapons or objects during sex.
    • Involves other people in sexual activities with you.
    • Ignores your feelings regarding sex.


    Stalking involves any pattern of behavior that serves no legitimate purpose and is intended to harass, annoy, or terrorize the victim. Typical stalking activities include repeated telephone calls, letters or gifts by mail, surveillance at work, home and other places victim is known to frequent. Stalking usually escalates.

    More Information

    For articles on domestic abuse in the World Bank Group community, visit the World Bank Family Network.

    What to Do if You or Your Children Are Being Abused

    • If your domestic violence situation is an emergency, or if you want to report the violence to the police, in the U.S. call 911 immediately. If in the Country Office, follow the Country Office's specific emergency procedures. (Also see the overseas medical emergency procedures Internal WBG Link - Intranet Only if emergency medical care is needed.) You also may call the Bank’s Security Office at +1-202-458-8888 to discuss your concerns about abuse, harassment, or safety in the workplace.
    • See the Contacts for Help section to identify and contact an appropriate party for assistance.
    • In the U.S., if you feel it is unsafe for you or your children to live in your home, you may wish to move temporarily to a domestic violence shelter. To find a shelter near you, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233, The hotline provides confidential information and resources. You also may call your state coalition for assistance (hotlink to section below).
    • If you do not wish to leave your home, but want to work with a local domestic violence program to help you with safety planning, you may contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) or your state coalition and local programs to assist you (hotlink to section below).

    Protecting Privacy on Your Computer

    Emails are never guaranteed to be private; they can be traced even after you have deleted them. Instead, call a hotline and ask for assistance in figuring out next steps. If you still decide to use email, doing the following things can help you protect your privacy:

    Use the email/contact form, like the one below, for initial contact. That way you don’t risk your privacy by emailing, but only by visiting this webpage.

    The Domestic Abuse Prevention Coordinator will provide more information on how to help protect your privacy on your computer.

    Internet Browsing: If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.

    It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints" of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.

    If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for normal activities, such as looking up the weather or recipes. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.

    Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.

    Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities. A safe computer might be a computer in a public library, at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet café.

    How You Can Help Victims of Domestic Abuse

    Do listen, believe and let the person know that he/she is not alone.

    Do recognize the warning signs of an abusive situation for victims (absenteeism, isolation, unexplained injuries, etc.) and for perpetrators (public blames, outburst of anger, attitude of domination, etc.).

    Domestic violence survivors may be at increased risk for violence when they take steps to leave an abusive partner or to seek legal relief. It is important to contact an experienced advocate or attorney to develop a safety plan for the victim and their children whether they choose to remain with a partner or are separating.

    Don’t underestimate the danger of the situation.

    Don’t let the abusive behavior continue in the work place (phone calls to the victim, blames in public, threats, etc.)

    See WBG intranet article: Domestic Abuse: Is It Our Business? Internal WBG Link - Intranet Only (Today article on Nov 16, 2007).


    Are You an Abuser?

    If you are concerned that you are exhibiting abusive behaviors towards your partner, there is help. Please contact the DAPP Hotline: (always available, 24/7) at +1-202-458-5800.

    Confidential and free counseling and related supportive services are provided by experienced counselors who are trained to work with individuals who engage in abusive behavior.


    WBG Policies / Consequences of Domestic Abuse

    Domestic abuse is a criminal offense in the United States and in many countries where Bank Group staff reside. World Bank Group employees, either U.S citizens or G4 visa holders, do not enjoy diplomatic immunity and must comply with U.S. laws including family law.

    Since domestic abuse involves illegal behavior, the World Bank Group does not tolerate this form of misconduct from its employees and may take disciplinary action in accordance with the Principles of Staff employment and Staff Rules 2.01 and 3.06. Internal WBG Link - Intranet Only

    The World Bank Group established procedures to minimize the impact of any attempts by an employee to exploit institutional immunities or privileges (which are related to World Bank Group business and do not cover illegal behavior) in private disputes.

    Click to see WBG Staff Rules relevant to domestic abuse (PDF) listed and linked (links inside PDF to individual Staff Rules are WBG-internal-only).

    External users can click to access the entire WBG Staff Manual as a single PDF.

    Domestic Abuse and the WBG Community / WBFN Publications

    The World Bank Family Network (WBFN) has developed and published the following materials that address many of the specific aspects of domestic abuse within the WBG community:

    Also See:


    US Law and Domestic Abuse

    There are many laws in the United States that address domestic abuse, and these often vary from state to state. Please consult an attorney knowledgeable about domestic violence in order to understand your legal options. (Also see Domestic Relations and World Bank Group Families, aka "Family Law Guide", PDF, available in English, French, and Spanish.)

    Criminal Laws: In the United States, it is a crime to commit a violent act against another person or to threaten to harm another person. In most states, in addition to these crimes, pushing, shoving, grabbing, forcing a person to stay somewhere against her will, destroying someone’s property, stalking someone, sexually assaulting someone, or harassing someone by telephone, is against the law. The reporting procedures (e.g., calling the police, a prosecutor, or a court commissioner) and the consequences vary by state.
    Civil Protection Orders: In every state and in D.C., you may ask a judge to issue a civil order to protect you from domestic violence if you have been threatened or assaulted. This type of order tells the batterer not to abuse you. It also can tell him or her not to contact you. In most states, a protection order also can include temporary custody of the children and a visitation arrangement, temporary child support, use of the home and/or a vehicle, and other legal orders to try to end the violence. A civil protection order does not involve the criminal justice system unless the perpetrator then violates the order.
    Custody: In every state and in D.C., you may ask a judge to issue a custody and visitation order if you have children in common with a batterer. This is an order determining which parent can make decisions about the children and with whom the children will live. (For information on which state has the power to issue a custody order in a case involving more than one state, please consult the Legal Resource Center on Violence Against Women at 1-800-556-4053).

    Immigration Relief: There are several immigration laws that address domestic violence situations. For example, if you are married to a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident and meet certain other conditions, you may be able to self-petition for immigration papers without involving your abusive spouse. Another form of relief states that if you are a crime victim and you could be helpful to law enforcement, and you meet certain other conditions, you may be eligible for a U visa. It is important to talk with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to find out if there are legal protections that could help you.

    External Resources

    This list of resources is not exhaustive and is meant to give you a better understanding of the resources available.

    Technology Privacy & Safety:

    State Coalitions: (information on counseling programs, shelters and local resources)


    Cultural- or Faith-Based Resources:

    Note: The selection of external resources to be included in the HSD website is for the convenience of staff, and is not intended as an endorsement by the World Bank Group of these resources. The World Bank Group disclaims any liability for inaccuracies or incompleteness of the information in these resources.

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