Types of domestic abuse


A male victim of domestic abuseA female victim of domestic abuse

Emotional and psychological

Emotional or psychological abuse can be either verbal or nonverbal.

This kind of domestic abuse chips away at the confidence and independence of the victim to make them compliant and limit their ability to leave their abuser.

Emotional abuse can include verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming and shaming, isolation, intimidation, threats of violence and controlling behaviour.


A wide range of different behaviour can come under the heading of physical abuse and can include punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pinching, kicking, pulling hair out, pushing, shoving, burning and strangling.


Rape and sexual abuse is common in abusive relationships. This is because the victim’s right to consent is likely to be ignored.

Any situation where someone is forced to take part in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse.


Economic or financial abuse limits the victim’s ability to get help.

The abuser controls finances; withholds money or credit cards; makes someone unreasonably account for the money they spend; exploits assets; withholds basic necessities; prevents someone from working and deliberately runs up debts.

It can also involve the abuser forcing someone to work against their will or sabotaging the victim’s job.