What is domestic abuse?

Physical abuse

Physical abuse involves causing harm and injury to a victim and in extreme cases, it can result in disabling or even death. An abuser can cause physical injury through the use of weapons, restraint or the use of their own size or strength.
To classify physical abuse or violence, an injury does not have to be major or require medical treatment. Physical abuse can also include; burning, shaking, pushing, punching, biting and grabbing.

Psychological abuse

Psychological abuse can include violence or the threat of violence to make their victim fear them. This type of abuse can come in the form of; humiliation and embarrassment, control of what they can and cannot do and social isolation from friends and family members.

Financial abuse

Financial domestic abuse is the most common type of abuse, although it is often the most difficult to recognise. Partners deny the victim access to money or other financial dealings, sometimes with an abuser not allowing their partner to work, forcing their partner into social isolation which has similar limitations seen in psychological abuse.

Sexual abuse

Sexual assault or abuse can happen to anyone, including those who may be unable to refuse due to disability, illness or whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The three main forms of sexual abuse are:

  • The use of physical force to make someone engage in sexual activity against their will, whether any sexual act is performed or not
  • Having or attempting to have sex with someone who doesn’t understand the nature of the act or request, or is unable to refuse, or is unable to communicate their refusal
  • Any abusive sexual contact, of any kind.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the cause of someone to feel a lack of self-respect or self-worth and can be constant, unrelenting insults and criticisms intended to humiliate and bad-mouth the victim. This type of abuse is often connected with other forms of domestic abuse to gain control over the victim and emotional ‘scars’ can often be as harmful as physical ones.