Families and Domestic Violence

Module Sections:

Forms of Domestic Violence

There are 3 major forms of domestic abuse:

Physical Abuse- Any nonsexual physical assault on the victim.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse- A behavior intended to frighten, control, or disparage a partner.

Sexual Abuse- Includes acts that force the partner to have nonconsensual sexual relations. Force includes applying undue pressure, threatening violence, threatening to leave the relationship, or using direct physical coercion.

Keep in mind that each form of abuse is on a continuum (as shown in the Domestic Violence Threshold Schematic) from mild to severe based on the offender’s behavior. Even so, any act of abuse can cause harm to the victim and can shift the power balance in the relationship. Also, remember that acts from all three forms of abuse can occur in a relationship, either at the same time or at different times.

Domestic Violence Threshold Schematic

Besides physical, emotional and sexual abuse, there is also economic or financial abuse where an abuser may hurt a victim and other family members by:

  • Controlling their finances
  • Withholding money or credit cards
  • Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter)
  • Giving them an allowance
  • Stealing or taking the victim(s) money
  • Making the victim(s) account for every penny spent
  • Exploiting the assets of the victim(s) for personal gain
  • Preventing the victim(s) from working or choosing their own career
  • Sabotaging the job of the victim(s)(constantly calling them)

Audio Companion: Families and Domestic Violence