Types of abuse

There are many different forms of domestic abuse and everyone who is or has experienced abuse will have a unique experience.

This list can help you to recognise if you, or someone you know, are experiencing abuse.

Physical abuse may include:

  • physically harming you, someone else or an animal
  • throwing things
  • slapping, grabbing, hitting, punching, beating, tripping you up, choking, shaking you, rough handling, burning, or scalding you
  • pinching, biting, pulling your hair, cutting your hair without consent
  • holding, restraining, preventing you from leaving, locking you out of the home, locking you in a room
  • depriving you of sleep, controlling your food, withholding medication
  • full body beatings, breaking bones
  • assaulting with a weapon such as a knife or a household object
  • leaving you in an unsafe place

Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality

Emotional abuse may include:

  • threatening or intimidating you to gain compliance and to manipulate you
  • destruction of your personal property and possessions, or threats to do something which would cause you distress, e.g, destruction of sentimental items
  • yelling or screaming, name calling, constant verbal harassment
  • embarrassing you, making fun of you, either at home or in public
  • saying you are worthless, belittling you
  • blaming you for how they act or feel, making you feel responsible
  • making you feel there is no way out of the relationship or situation

Sexual abuse may include:

  • rape
  • sexual assault - forcing you to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity
  • controlling access to contraception
  • not allowing you to express your sexuality or ridiculing your preferences
  • sexual exploitation (forcing you to look at pornography, or being forced into pornographic filmmaking)
  • using force, threats, or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts
  • using sexually degrading language to describe you to others

Economic abuse may include:

  • withholding money or providing you with a limited allowance
  • requiring every penny spent to be accounted for
  • stealing from you
  • withholding physical resources such as food, clothes, medications, or transportation methods
  • preventing you from working or keeping a job
  • having debt put into your name
  • controlling your Passport or other important documents

Controlling behaviour may include:

  • telling you what to wear, where you can go and who you can see
  • going everywhere with you
  • telling you when to eat, sleep, shower
  • timing you, forcing you to account for every moment of your time
  • monitoring you on social media, controlling your use of technology
  • excessive possessiveness and jealousy, isolating you from friends and family
  • allowing no privacy, for example not allowed to close the bathroom door

A forced marriage is a marriage where one or both people do not consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used.

Coercive behaviour includes:

  • using psychological methods of coercive control against you
  • using threats that you think could happen to control your actions
  • threatening to hurt you or someone you love
  • threatening to hurt the children, the animals
  • making you drop charges
  • intimidating you until you comply, using threatening behaviour or actions
  • doing something to frighten you so you end up doing something you don't want to, exploiting you

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim

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