Types of domestic abuse

Types of domestic abuse

Domestic and family violence is not always physical.

Abuse can be emotional, social, verbal, sexual, financial or cultural. All forms of abuse should be taken seriously.

Types of domestic and family violence

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse can include punching, pushing, harming pets, burning, hair pulling, damaging property, strangulation and or use of a weapon.

Social Abuse

Social abuse is when the perpetrator tries to isolate the victim from her support network. He will try to control your contact with family or friends and might constantly need to know your whereabouts. He might insist that you stay at home, go out only with him or inform him of your movements at all times. He might also check or limit your phone calls, internet access and social media use. The abuser may degrade or put down your family and friends in an attempt to slowly disconnect you from them.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can happen even within a marriage or relationship. A woman may be forced to have to sex or engage in sexual activities against her will. Even if she’s not physically forced to submit to his wishes, he may threaten her emotionally or physically and she may feel as though she has no choice.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is bullying comments and actions that make you feel undermined, ashamed and powerless. This type of abuse destroys your self confidence. Emotional abuse can make you feel as though you’re ‘stupid’, ‘crazy’ or a ‘bad mother’. It can be threatening, degrading or humiliating.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is when the abuser limits your access to money and does not allow you to have any say — or a limited say — in financial decisions or how money is spent. Financial abuse ensures that the victim is financially dependent on the abuser.

Cultural or Spiritual Abuse

This is when your beliefts or cultural background is insulted or disrespected. When you are made to feel stupid, different or less of a person.

Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse is yelling, swearing, put downs, name calling, jealous accusations, sarcasm or ridicule with the aim of destroying a person’s confidence and self-esteem.

Intimidation and threats

Threats and intimidation are used to control you and make you feel powerless. A person might intimidate another by destroying possessions, smashing holes in walls, handling weapons, displaying aggressive body language or driving recklessly. They might threaten to harm you, harm your children or pet, or commit suicide. They might also stalk or harass you at work.


The Domestic Violence Resource Service offers support and information to women, adolescents and children.

Phone 07 4953 1788 (Mon-Fri 8.30am-4.30pm) or email admin@dvrs.org.au.

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