There are many different kinds of abuse, but those most commonly associated with domestic relationships are:
Physical Abuse/Domestic Violence
This is the easiest type of abuse to recognise as it often involves visible injuries such as cuts and bruises. This deliberate form of harm includes aggressive injuries such as hitting, slapping, punching, choking, pushing and deliberate wounding, but it can also include less obvious things like inappropriate restraint, improper use of medication and withholding food and drink. Some abusers choose to inflict injuries that cannot be seen by others, and it is important to remember that a bruised arm or leg is just as unacceptable as a black eye.
Any sexual act that has not been consented to is classed as sexual abuse. This includes rape, sexual harassment, forcing someone to perform a sex act and filming sex acts or body parts without permission. It is important to remember your right to say “no”, and any refusal to respect this can be seen as sexual abuse.
Emotional Abuse/Coercive Control
This is regarded by many experts as the most psychologically damaging kind of abuse as it is harder to recognise, so victims often stay longer than they would if they were being physically attacked. This kind of abuse is used to control and humiliate, and can include deprivation of basic emotional needs, isolating the victim from friends and family, verbal insults, abandonment and intimidation. “Gaslighting” is a common form of emotional abuse which involves regularly lying about things that have happened and been said, leaving the victim questioning their own sanity.
Financial or Material Abuse
This kind of abuse is closely linked to coercive control and happens when the perpetrator limits the victim’s access to their own money or causes deliberate financial hardship. This can include fraud, theft and controlling bank accounts, pensions and housekeeping money.