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Types Of Abuse

The examples provided are just some of the types of interactions that take place in abusive situations; there are many more that occur.  Abuse Victim Hotline, Inc. needs your help!  Help us keep the information on this site up to date.  If you have any suggestions, personal experiences, or other information to be included, please contact us!

Click here for abuse of specific demographics and pertinent links/articles

Physical Abuse:

  • physical intimidation by a dominating partner
  • physical abuse from an intoxicated partner
  • physical abuse in the form of:
  • grabbing hair
  • scratching
  • pushing
  • slapping
  • punching
  • kicking
  • beating
  • beating with an object
  • pushing one down stairs
  • any other activity that physically harms

Emotional Abuse:

  • belittling in front of others
  • constantly criticizing one’s physical appearance
  • constantly insulting one’s intelligence
  • social isolation
  • possessiveness
  • stalking
  • embarrassing one in front of children
  • shouting at one in front of others
  • limiting access/interactions to couple’s children

Sexual Abuse:

  • physical:
    • forced touching
    • forced intercourse- rape
    • forcing one to perform a sexual act
  • emotional:
    • using intimidation to force sexual acts
    • using uncomfortable language
    • undesired exposing of oneself
    • sexual exploitation and humiliation
    • making one appear nude in front of others
    • unwanted cyber sexual attention/solicitation
    • stalking a former sexual partner
  • financial:
    • offering/restricting money to force sexual acts

Financial Abuse:

  • one partner having all financial power
  • limits to spending
  • limiting access to life necessitates/ food/ water/ clothes/ medications

Domestic Abuse:

When a family member, spouse or ex-spouse, partner or ex-partner, physically or emotionally harms another.  Domestic abuse is also referred to as intimate partner violence, spousal abuse, and family violence. 

Services for Domestic Violence Victims and Their Families
Research on Domestic Violence Against Males
Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting (RADAR)
National Network to End Domestic Violence
National Coalition to End Domestic Violence
Family Violence Prevention Fund
National Domestic Violence Hotline (US)
Domestic Violence laws and expungement
Canadian Domestic Abuse Community & Blog Network
A list of organizations for women whose lives have been affected by abuse

Abuse of Men
Intimate Partner Abuse Against Men
Overcoming Sexual Victimization for Men and Boys

Battered and Formerly Battered Women’s Statement
Helpguide: Domestic Violence and Abuse
Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile
No Safe Haven, a special report on domestic violence by Mother Jones magazine
Domestic violence online articles


Sexual Abuse:

Any forced or undesired sexual act by one person to another.  Incest is sexual abuse between family members.

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
MassGov Sexual Abuse Survivors Resources
CDC Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet
Sexual Abuse Statistics
Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network
San Francisco Women Against Rape


Child Abuse:

The physical, emotional, sexual maltreatment or neglect of a child by a parent, a guardian, or another person

US Dept. of Health and Human Services
Prevent Child Abuse America
Childhelp USA
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Child Welfare League of America


Elder Abuse:

An act done to harm an elder person, by way of physical force, emotional battering, sexual victimization, financial exploitation, restrictions from food, water, shelter, clothing, medications, or neglect.

Massachusetts Elder Abuse and Protective Services
World Health Organization- Prevention of Elder Abuse


Abuse of Disabled Persons:

An act done to harm a person with a disability, specifically using the disability as a means to control/harm the victim; abuse by way of physical force, neglect, emotional battering, sexual victimization, financial exploitation, restrictions from food, water, shelter, clothing, medications, or withholding medical devices such as arm/leg braces and wheelchairs

National Council for Support of Disability Issues
Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Committee


Abuse in Teen Relationships:

Abuse in the form of physical force, emotional battering, sexual force or economic manipulation.  Common abuse in teen relationships: 

  • obsessive behavior/extreme jealousy
  • stalking
  • threats of suicide
  • threats of physical/sexual violence
  • verbally abusive in front of peers
  • date rape
  • forced sexual activity
  • pressure to engage in dangerous behavior such as having unprotected sex, tryings drugs/alcohol, stealing, vandalizing property

Safe Youth
Dating Violence-- Warning Signs of Abuser/Abused
Love is Not Abuse


Abuse in GLBT Relationships:

Abuse is just as common in GLBT relationships as it is in straight couples.  Abuse in the form of physical force to harm, emotional battering, sexual assault/rape, or financial exploitation.  Abuse pertinent to GLBT relationships:

  • Abuser using  victim’s personal information such as one’s sexual orientation, gender, and HIV/AIDS status as a means of control
  • the fear of being “outed” causes many in the GLBT community to withstand abuse
  • The fear of being discriminated against by legal/criminal authorities causes many to internalize the abuse and let it go unreported


The Network/La Red- Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender
Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project


Self Abuse:

Any act a person does to do harm to his/her self.  This can include constant self-deprecation (criticism), self-mutilation, abusing drugs/alcohol, refusing to eat, engaging in dangerous behavior such as criminal activity, unprotected sex, and exposure to infectious diseases

Samaritans - Support for People Who are Depressed/ Suicidal
Alcoholics Anonymous
Al-anon/Al-teen- Support for Friends/Family of Addicts
Daily Strength- Free, Anonymous Support Communities


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