Domestic violence includes abuse of a physical, emotional, sexual, financial, verbal, and social nature. Many people do not class themselves as being in a domestic violence relationship because they have not been hit or physically assaulted. However, domestic violence/abuse can be subtle or strong in the form that it takes, and the extensive range of behaviours deemed as violent/abusive include:
Physical violence: behaviour where physical force is used, such as hitting, pushing, shoving, shaking, punching, kicking, slapping, choking, the use of weapons, sexual abuse (being forced into sexual activity against your will), or damaging objects (punching holes in walls or doors, or breaking furniture).
Emotional and verbal abuse: behaviour aimed at eroding your self confidence and self esteem and making you fearful – can include threats, intimidation, manipulation, control, put downs, yelling and screaming, blaming, fault-finding, belittling, humiliating, and name calling.
Financial abuse: where your partner or family member controls the finances and keeps you financially dependent – you are constantly having to account for what you have spent, the money you are given is insufficient to make ends meet, or the money you have earned is taken from you.
Social abuse: behaviours which include: being kept isolated and not permitted to have your own friends or contact with family; your social interactions and movements are monitored and controlled; your partner is jealous and controls who you talk to and where you go; your partner constantly criticises your family members and friends, or does not make them feel welcome; your partner makes verbal attacks on you when you are socialising or in public; or, your partner smothers you (always wanting to be together), and you are not permitted to have a life of your own.
Am I in an abusive relationship?
To determine whether you are in an abusive relationship, read more on our domestic violence page to assess your situation.