Domestic violence is a common problem that affects the family unit in particular and society in general. It occurs in all segments of society and reflects the violence that is a part of the behavior of many. Physicians can learn to detect its presence among their patients and to offer ways in which the victims can find help. Such help may include counseling for the victims, the batterer, and their children or a constructive plan for the woman to exit the relationship and rebuild her life in safety. While the public has been very slow to understand the extent and seriousness of this problem, legislative initiatives have begun to address remedies for this potentially damaging and lethal situation. Physicians should attempt to identify individuals who are the victims of abuse and to help them understand the dynamics of their relationship and the dangers faced by them and their children. Information about available community, social, and legal resources; their legal rights; and a plan for dealing with the abusive partner should be made available to these women. The physician must remain caring and supportive of the patient as she works through these crises, even if she chooses to follow advice or courses of action other than leaving the relationship.