Types of Abuse

Domestic abuse may include a range of abusive behaviours. It is not necessarily a physical act of violence and can be a pattern of controlling behaviour.  It can happen inside or outside the home.

Victims suffer different combinations of abuse - physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, social and financial.

  • Physical abuse 

This includes all types of violence and assault including punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning, restraint, and strangling.

  • Sexual abuse

Rape is sexual abuse. Using force, threats or intimidation to make an individual perform sexual acts is also deemed as sexual abuse. Often abusers exert their control and abuse sexually by rejecting the advances of their partner also.

  • Emotional/psychological abuse and social isolation

Emotional and psychological abuse can be extensive and includes:

  • Verbal abuse such as shouting, mocking, accusing, name calling or insults/put-downs.
  • Use of pressure tactics to scare and control. Done by sulking, crying, and threatening to harm or kill their victim/s or themselves.
  • Controlling behaviour such as checking up on their victim, following, checking phone calls and opening mail. Abusers often like to embarrass their victim/s in public.
  • Threatening is also a form of abuse. Threats are made in various ways, e.g. angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, glaring and shouting at their victim/s, smashing things, punching walls, wielding a knife or other weapons.
  • Denial is another form of emotional and psychological abuse. Abusers will deny any abuse, claiming that assaults were minor e.g.‘ it was only a slap’ and will blame any abusive behaviour on the victims themselves. Begging for forgiveness and promising that the abuse will stop is also common.
  • Abusers also isolate their victims by telling them where they can and cannot go, prevent them from working and stop them from seeing friends and relatives. Phone calls, texts and emails are checked or victim/s phone are taken away completely.

This abusive behaviour inflicted on individuals is highly damaging and leads to very low self esteem and lack of confidence in victims.

  • Financial abuse

This can be withholding money from their victims or stealing money from their purse or bank account.  Abusers can pressurise their victims in relation to wills, property and inheritance. Misusing possessions and benefits belonging to the victim is also a form of financial abuse.

All forms of domestic abuse come from the abuser’s desire to gain and maintain total power and control over their victim.