Behavioural types of domestic abuse and the effects on the victim

Domestic abuse can take different forms and can include physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Domestic abuse can include:

Destructive criticism and verbal abuse:

  • shouting
  • mocking
  • accusing
  • name calling
  • verbally threatening.

Pressure tactics:

  • sulking
  • threatening to withhold money
  • disconnecting the telephone
  • taking the car away
  • threatening to commit suicide
  • taking the children away
  • reporting you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his or her demands regarding bringing up the children
  • lying to your friends and family about you
  • telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.


  • persistently putting you down in front of other people
  • not listening or responding when you talk
  • interrupting your telephone calls
  • taking money from your purse without asking
  • refusing to help with childcare or housework.

Breaking trust:

  • lying to you
  • withholding information from you
  • being jealous
  • having other relationships
  • breaking promises and shared agreements.


  • monitoring or blocking your telephone calls
  • telling you where you can and cannot go
  • preventing you from seeing friends and relatives.


  • following you
  • checking up on you
  • opening your mail
  • repeatedly checking to see who has telephoned you
  • embarrassing you in public.


  • making angry gestures
  • using physical size to intimidate
  • shouting you down
  • destroying your possessions
  • breaking things
  • punching walls
  • wielding a knife or a gun
  • threatening to kill you and your children or other family members.

Sexual violence:

  • using force
  • threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts
  • having sex with you when you don't want to have sex
  • any degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation.

Physical violence:

  • punching
  • slapping
  • hitting
  • biting
  • pinching
  • kicking
  • pulling hair out
  • pushing
  • shoving
  • burning
  • strangling.


  • saying the abuse doesn't happen
  • saying you caused the abusive behaviour
  • being publicly gentle and patient
  • crying and begging for forgiveness
  • saying it will never happen again.

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