Definitions

Psychological Abuse:

  • Behaviour and/or comments to undermine your sense of self.
  • Name-calling or put-downs.
  • Intimidation.
  • Sulking; threatening to withhold money, disconnect the telephone, take the car away.
  • Lying to your friends and family about you; telling you that you have no choice in any decisions.
  • Commit suicide, take the children away, report you to welfare agencies unless you comply with his demands regarding bringing up the children.

 

Verbal Abuse

  • Constant put-downs.
  • Name calling.
  • Making harassing or threatening phone calls.
  • Says things to scare you (eg told you something “bad” would happen; threatened to commit suicide).
  • Used the children to threaten you (eg told you that you would lose custody; said he would leave town with the children).

 

Physical Abuse

  • Actual or threatened physical harm e.g. Injured you by causing bruises, cuts, broken bones, slapping, punching, pushing, choking, being threatened or injured with objects/weapons, destroying or damaging property.
  • Making threats to hurt you and/or your children.
  • Denial of sleep, warmth or nutrition.
  • Denial of needed medical care.
  • Driving recklessly while you and/or your children were in the car etc.

 

Social Abuse

  • Controlling where you go, who you see, what you wear.
  • Keeping you from contacting family or friends.
  • Preventing someone from leaving the house.
  • Preventing someone from going to a place of worship or praying.
  • Making all the ‘big’ decisions.
  • Checks up on you (e.g., listened to your phone calls, checked the mileage on the car, called you repeatedly at work).
  • Refused to do housework or child care.
  • Making you feel guilty about going to work or socialising.
  • Controlling your use of mobiles, phones and internet and use of the family car.
  • Constantly checking up on your whereabouts etc.

 

Sexual Abuse

  • Any forced or unwanted sexual contact/activity.
  • Pressured you to have sex when you didn’t want to (will not take no for an answer).
  • Forcing you to have sex or to do sexual acts you do not want or like.
  • Raping you.
  • Humiliation can often play a part in sexual abuse.
  • Forcing you to have sex is a criminal offence, even if you are married.

 

Reproductive control

This has links with sexual abuse, but is uniquely related to women’s (particularly young women’s) ability to control their own reproductive health.  For example, use or non-use of contraception/ contraceptive method, forcing you to make decisions around pregnancy and/or termination, and having little say in the number and timing of your children.

 

Financial Abuse

  • When your partner takes control of your financial affairs when you don’t want him to;  or
  • Prevents you from having access to money. Denying access to bank accounts, forcing the surrender of bankcards and credit cards to gain control of your income;
  • Preventing you from seeking or maintaining employment;
  • Making you ask for money for basic items such as food, petrol and clothing, and forcing you to provide receipts to account for your spending;
  • Refusing to give someone enough money to live on.

 

 Property Damage 

  • Kicking a hole in the wall.
  • Scratching your car.
  • Taking away or breaking things that are important to the abused person.
  • Abusing a family pet.

 

Stalking

Stalking is behaviour intended to harass, intimidate and torment another person. Stalking includes a range of behaviours such as:

  • Repeated phone calls.
  • Sending letters, faxes or e-mails, using social media (such as signing into your Facebook or twitter accounts).
  • Loitering near a Woman’s residence or place of work.
  • Spying on or openly watching a woman.
  • Following a woman.
  • Harming pets.
  • Organizing unwanted home deliveries.
  • Sending flowers or chocolates.
  • Damaging property.
  • Moving belongings around.
  • Changing details on personal identification.

 

Technological abuse

This is an emerging form of abuse that is linked to stalking, psychological abuse and other forms of domestic violence.  It can mean that technology is used to directly or indirectly monitor and stalk you.  This can sometimes occur without your knowing, such as personal information being posted on websites and tracking devices being installed in cars and mobile phones eg GPS, spyware, listening devices, hidden cameras, and keystroke-logging hardware.