Definitions of Abuse


Physical violence/abuse is any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body. It can include:
• direct physical assault on the body
• pushing / shoving
• punching / slapping
• biting
• pulling of hair
• choking
• mutilation and maiming
• burns
• throwing of objects at a person
• use of weapons to threaten or injure
• being sexually assaulted and/or raped.

Emotional or psychological abuse can include:
• continual “put downs” and/or criticism.
• humiliation
• bullying
• threatening to hurt children or themselves
• exploitation
• intimidation
• psychological degradation
• verbal aggression
• undermining of self-esteem
• name calling
• heavy monitoring of mobile phone use, texts, email and social media
• property being destroyed.

Sexual violence is any form of sexual coercion (physical or emotional) or sexual degradation against an individual in the family or domestic unit. It can include:
• any sexual activity without consent
• unwanted sexual touching
• sexual assault
• rape
• incest
• rape between spouses, cohabitants, partners or ex-partners
• causing pain without consent during sex
• forced stripping of clothing
• victims being told that it is their duty to have sex with the abuser
• sexual degradation including the enforced use of pornography.

Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence in which the abuser uses money as a means of controlling their partner. It can include:
• economic blackmail
• complete control of all monies and bank accounts
• denial of financial independence
• complete control of family finances and spending
• denial of access to necessary funds
• preventing the victim from working
• taking control of bank cards and access to credit
• non-payment of child maintenance
• refusal of funds for household bills.

Examples of social abuse can include:
• systematic isolation from family and friends
• forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people
• constant criticizing of victims’ family and friends
• victims never being left on their own by perpetrator
• refusal to allow victims to work.

Online or digital abuse is the use of technologies such as mobile phone texting and social networking to bully, pursue, cyber-stalk or intimidate a partner. In most cases, this type of abuse is emotional and/or verbal perpetuated online. Examples include:
• sending negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets
• online “put downs” on status updates
• sending unwanted and/or explicit pictures
• tracking victim online activity, search history and cache history
• stealing or insisting on being given online passwords
• constantly checking of mobile phones for pictures, texts and calls
• unkind comments/tags on Instagram or Tumblr etc.


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