What is Domestic Violence?

Physical Violence

Physical abuse may range from a push to more extreme acts such as murder or attempted murder. It can consist of beatings, kicking, pulling the victims’ hair, burning, biting, choking, slapping and also wounding the victim with weapons.


Sexual Violence

Sexual abuse manifests itself in acts or threats of physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. This includes, but not limited to: attempted or committed rape, any forced and non-consensual sexual act, as well as sexual behaviour that the victim finds humiliating and degrading.


Emotional Violence

Emotional abuse is an attempt to control and manipulate, in just the same way that physical abuse is an attempt to control and manipulate another person. However in emotional abuse, the perpetrator uses emotion as the weapon instead of pushing or slapping. 


A perpetrator of emotional abuse may feel insecure about whether the partner loves him/her so the perpetrator feels compelled to accuse the victim of cheating, blame the victim for the perpetrators’ unhappiness and constantly check the partners’ text messages. These accusations of blame and constant checking up may be forms of emotional abuse. 


A perpetrator may feel the need to constantly control the victims’ every move as the former thinks that s/he knows best for his/her partner or what looks ‘correct to the outside world.’ In this way the perpetrator will criticize the victim’s every move when things are not done the way the perpetrator wants or will threaten the victim when s/he seems cross the line of what is ‘allowed’. The perpetrator may verbally attack the victim, criticise the victims’ talking, walking, dressing, interactions with others, style of living and coping in order to gain and keep control over the victim. 


Other forms of emotional abuse include the constant criticism of ones’ abilities, an over-protective behaviour, preventing the victim from seeing his/her friends or from finding a job, the use of bullying / intimidation / manipulation / threats to control the victim and/or the children, prevent the victim from going out at whatever time s/he wants and wherever s/he wants and humiliation and embarrassment in front of others.


What is and what is not emotional abuse may get blurry at times, and therefore if you feel like you are experiencing any of the above, then it would be best to speak to a professional in order to assess these situations. 


Economic Violence

Economic abuse is defined as controlling a woman’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain economic resources.  This may mean that the maintenance payments are insufficient and/or that financial income, property and/or the perpetrator’s expenses are kept secret. The perpetrator may also deny the victim the use of bank accounts or access to bank accounts, credit cards and / or controls all finances. The perpetrator may also force the victim to account for what s/he spends. Economic violence may also include deciding where the victim will work or outright forbidding the victim from working.


Who may be a victim of Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence includes violence which occurs between:

  1. Current or former spouses, civil union partners or cohabitants; 
  2. Persons living in the same household as the offender or who had lived with the offender within a period of three years preceding the offence; 
  3. Persons whose marriage has been dissolved or declared null; 
  4. An ascendant or descendant; 
  5. Other adults sharing the same household; 
  6. Persons in an informal relationship, who are or were dating; 
  7. Persons who are, or have been, formally or informally engaged with a view to get married or enter into a civil union; 
  8. Persons who are related to each other either by consanguinity (related by blood) or affinity (related by means of kinship relationship that exists between two or more people are a result of someone’s marriage) up to the third degree inclusively (parent, child, spouse, grand parent, brother, sister, grandchild, great grandparent, great aunt, great uncle, great grandchild etc.)
  9. Persons having or having had a child in common.