What are the 5 forms of domestic abuse?

What are the 5 forms of domestic abuse?

Posted on Apr 20, 2016

Domestic abuse



What are the 5 forms of domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is when someone – almost always serially – abuses another person within an intimate or family relationship.

In 2013/14 86 women and 23 men died at the hands of a partner or ex-partner.

Typically, we may think of domestic abuse as being about physical violence, but there are other forms of abuse which are equally harmful, not only to the victim, but to everyone else living in that household.


So, what are the 5 different forms of domestic abuse?


1. Physical abuse and violence


The first and most widely recognised form is physical abuse and violence. This includes slapping, punching, strangling, scalding and burning, throwing and breaking things and the use of weapons.


2. Mental or emotional abuse


Alongside the harm caused by any physical injuries, psychological damage to the victim is inevitable – whether in the form of depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Mental or emotional abuse is also a separately recognised form of abuse and can include malicious name-calling, belittling, accusations, threats and intimidation.


3. Sexual abuse


Sexual abuse can be defined as any sexual encounter without consent and includes rape and/or forcing another to take part in any kind of sexual act they’re uncomfortable with, as well as forced pregnancy and childbearing.


4. Financial abuse


Financial abuse includes depriving someone of money, restricting them to an allowance, or monitoring every penny they spend. This leaves a victim feeling isolated, lacking in confidence and trapped in their relationship.


5. Stalking


In late 2012 UK legislation was updated to include stalking as a form of domestic abuse. It includes surveillance: watching, waiting, spying or approaching the victim, persistent communication via phone, text, email, social media or through gifts and notes, breaking in to the victim’s home or car, damage to property, threats and violence. It’s worth pointing out that honour-based violence, forced marriage and FGM (female genital mutilation) as well as elements of radicalisation and child and adult abuse, are all classed as domestic abuse too.


What should I do?

If you suspect an adult is experiencing domestic abuse you may need to respect their wish for confidentiality. The best thing you can do is tell them you’re concerned for their safety and be constantly supportive.

Try not to pressure a victim to leave their relationship; help the victim to recognise the abuse is not their fault and that everyone deserves a non-violent and healthy relationship.

Being there to help, or listen, will make a huge difference.


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