Violence and Abuse

Violence and Abuse

Violence and other forms of abuse are most commonly understood as a pattern of behaviour intended to establish and maintain control over family, household members, intimate partners, colleagues, individuals or groups. While violent offenders are most often known to their victims (intimate or estranged partners and spouses, family members, relatives, peers, colleagues, etc.), acts of violence and abuse may also be committed by strangers.

Violence and abuse may occur only once, can involve various tactics of subtle manipulation or may occur frequently while escalating over a period of months or years. In any form, violence and abuse profoundly affect individual health and well-being. The roots of all forms of violence are founded in the many types of inequality which continue to exist and grow in society.

Violence and abuse are used to establish and maintain power and control over another person, and often reflect an imbalance of power between the victim and the abuser.

There are nine distinct forms of violence and abuse:

  1. Physical violence; - Physical violence occurs when someone uses a part of their body or an object to control a person’s actions.
  2. Sexual violence; - Sexual violence occurs when a person is forced to unwillingly take part in sexual activity.
  3. Emotional violence; - Emotional violence occurs when someone says or does something to make a person feel stupid or worthless.
  4. Psychological violence; - Psychological violence occurs when someone uses threats and causes fear in an individual to gain control.
  5. Spiritual violence; - Spiritual (or religious) violence occurs when someone uses an individual’s spiritual beliefs to manipulate, dominate or control that person.
  6. Cultural violence; - Cultural violence occurs when an individual is harmed as a result of practices that are part of her or his culture, religion or tradition.
  7. Verbal Abuse; - Verbal abuse occurs when someone uses language, whether spoken or written, to cause harm to an individual.
  8. Financial Abuse; - Financial abuse occurs when someone controls an individual’s financial resources without the person’s consent or misuses those resources.
  9. Neglect - Neglect occurs when someone has the responsibility to provide care or assistance for an individual but does not.


From: Government of Newfoundland & Labrador Violence & Aggression Initiative, 2016. ( )

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