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Different types of abuse

We define domestic violence & abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and/or violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer.

Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is any violence or intentional and unwanted contact with someone’s body. Examples of physical abuse are:

  • Scratching, punching, biting, strangling or kicking
  • Throwing something such as a phone, book, shoe or plate
  • Pulling hair
  • Pushing or pulling someone
  • Grabbing clothing
  • Grabbing someone to prevent them from leaving or to force them to go somewhere

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse includes threats, insults, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking. Examples of emotional abuse are:

  • Name calling or putting someone down
  • Yelling and screaming 
  • Intentionally embarrassing someone in public
  • Preventing someone from seeing or talking with friends and family
  • Telling someone what to do and wear
  • Damaging property when they are angry (throwing objects, punching walls, kicking doors, etc.)
  • Blaming someone’s actions for their abusive or unhealthy behaviour
  • Threatening to commit suicide to keep someone from breaking up with them
  • Threatening to harm someone, their pet or people they care about
  • Making someone feel guilty or immature when they do not consent to sexual activity
  • Threatening to have someone’s children taken away

Financial abuse

Can be very subtle — telling you what someone what they can and cannot buy. Or requiring someone to share control of their bank accounts. Examples of financial abuse are:

  • Giving someone an allowance and closely watching what they buy
  • Placing someone’s wages in their account and denying them access to it
  • Keeping someone from seeing shared bank accounts or records
  • Forbidding someone to work or limiting the hours they do
  • Preventing someone from going to work i.e. by taking their car or keys
  • Getting someone fired by harassing them, their employer or co-workers on the job
  • Maxing out someone’s credit cards without their permission
  • Refusing to give someone money for food, rent, medicine or clothing
  • Spending money on themselves but not allowing someone to do the same

Coercive control

A pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence. Examples of coercive control are:

  • Unreasonable demands
  • Degradation
  • Restricting daily activities
  • Threats or intimidation
  • Financial control
  • Monitoring of time
  • Taking your phone away
  • Deprivation of food
  • Destruction of possessions

Digital abuse

Digital abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behaviour is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online. Examples of digital abuse are when someone:

  • Tells them who they can or cannot be friends with on social media sites
  • Sends someone negative, insulting or threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, direct messages or other messages online
  • Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others to keep constant tabs on them
  • Posts negative things about someone
  • Sends someone unwanted, explicit pictures and/or demands they send some in return
  • Pressures someone to send explicit video or sexts
  • Steals or insists to be given someone’s passwords
  • Constantly texts someone and makes them feel like they cannot be separated from their phone for fear that they will be punished
  • Looks through someone’s phone frequently, checks up on their pictures, texts and outgoing calls
  • Tags someone in unkindly in pictures on Instagram, Tumblr, etc

Psychological abuse

A person subjecting another person to behaviour which may result in psychological trauma including anxiety, chronic depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Examples of psychological abuse are:

  • Gaslighting – manipulating someone into doubting their own sanity or reality 
  • Moving things around the house, or removing them and returning them later, then denying it
  • Denying that they or someone else have said things
  • Telling someone that people have said things about them, or that their friends do not like them
  • Telling someone that they have a mental health condition when they have not
  • Making derogatory jokes about someone to others in front of them
  • Name calling, telling someone they are useless, stupid, worthless and mad
  • Questions someone endlessly about everything they do or say