Click on the terms below to learn more about each type.
Physical abuse includes any physically aggressive behaviour, withholding of physical needs, or threat of physical violence. Examples of physical abuse include, but are not limited to:
Hitting, kicking, biting, slapping, shaking, pushing, pulling, punching, choking, beating, scratching, pinching, pulling hair, hitting with an object, threatening with a weapon, or threatening to physically assault.
Withholding of physical necessities, including disruption of sleep or meals; denying money, food, transportation, or help if sick or injured; and locking the victim in or out of the house.
Abusing, injuring, or threatening to harm others, including children, pets, family, or property.
Emotional abuse is any behaviour that exploits another’s vulnerability, insecurity, or character. Such behaviours include continuous degradation, intimidation, manipulation, brainwashing, or control of another to the detriment of the individual. Examples of emotional abuse include, but are not limited to:
Insulting or criticizing the victim to undermine their self-confidence. This includes public humiliation, as well as actual or threatened rejection.
Gaslighting the victim by telling them that they are mentally unstable or incompetent. This can include denying the abuse occurred and/or telling the victim that they are making up the abuse.
Sexual abuse entails abusive sexual behaviour, such as forcing unwanted sexual activity on another person, or otherwise using sex in an exploitative fashion. Note that having consented to sexual activity in the past does not indicate current consent. Examples of sexual abuse include, but are not limited to:
Using force, coercion, guilt, or manipulation to obtain or attempt to obtain a sexual act, regardless of the relationship with the victim. This includes attempts to make the victim have unwanted sexual experiences or involuntarily engage in prostitution.
Sexual behaviour by an adult or older adolescent towards vulnerable persons, including children, persons with disabilities, or elders, regardless of consent.
Attacks against another person’s sexuality, such as insults or name-calling directed at another person’s body, sexual preferences, or sexual behaviour.
Verbal abuse is any abusive language used to belittle, embarrass or threaten the victim. Examples of verbal abuse include, but are not limited to:
Threatening to hurt or kill the victim, or harm their children, family, pets, property, or reputation.
Name calling (e.g., ‘ugly’ or ‘stupid’).
Yelling, screaming, rampaging, terrorizing, or refusing to talk.
Economic abuse is a way to control the victim through manipulation of financial resources. Examples of economic abuse may include, but are not limited to:
Controlling the family income and limiting the victim’s access to money (e.g., putting the victim on an allowance, making the victim give their paycheck to the abuser).
Spending money needed for necessities (e.g., food, rent, utilities) on nonessentials, such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, or hobbies.
Isolation is a form of abuse in which the abuser keeps the victim socially isolated, often to control the victim’s perceptions of the abuse and prevent them from leaving the relationship. Isolation tactics often begin as an expression of love, with statements like “if you really loved me, you would want to spend time with me, not your family.” Eventually, the victim may be excluded from contact with anyone except the abuser, and often lacks the resources to change the situation. Examples of isolation include, but are not limited to:
Withdrawing from friends and family because of shame surrounding the abuser’s behaviour in public.
Not being allowed to see friends and family, or participate in social activities.
The abuser expresses extreme jealousy regarding any social connections the victim does have.
Stalking is a form of abuse, defined as the willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another person, accompanied by a credible threat of violence. Stalking, either during a relationship or after a relationship has ended, is a high-risk behaviour and should be taken seriously. Examples of stalking include, but are not limited to:
Repeatedly leaving unwanted things (e.g., flowers) on the victim’s doorstep or at work.
Watching and/or following the victim from a distance.
Harassing telephone calls or notes.
Cyber violence is the misuse of technology (e.g., computers, tablets, cellphones, etc.) to control, threaten, or intimidate the victim. Examples of cyber violence include, but are not limited to:
Online harassment – harassment and/or threats against a victim based on gender, appearance, disability, sexual orientation, race, etc.
Cyber stalking – repeated use of electronic communication to frighten the victim, including harassment, humiliation, and embarrassment of the person targeted or their family, friends, colleagues, etc.
Blackmail and extortion – threatening to reveal embarrassing or damaging information about a person to the public, family, or associates if the victim does not comply with the abuser’s request(s).
For more information about cyber violence...
Click here for an infographic about technology and abuse.
Click here for a copy of the cyber safety plan that we use with our clients at Liberty Lane.
Spiritual abuse includes efforts to ridicule the victim’s religious beliefs, or the misuse of religion to control or humiliate the victim. Examples of spiritual abuse include, but are not limited to:
Misrepresenting verses or principles from religious texts to justify abusive behaviour.
Isolating the victim from their faith community.
Belittling or mocking the victim’s spirituality.
For more information about spiritual abuse...
Click here to download an infographic about spiritual and religious abuse.