Domestic violence is everywhere in the news. With the advent of the internet and social media, we are overwhelmed with images every day. Below, our criminal defense lawyers look at the different types of abuse that constitute domestic violence.

Emotional Abuse

The person who engages in emotional abuse is trying to undermine the self-respect of the victim.  This is usually an attempt to control the other person. They wear them down through constant criticism and insults.  The victims of emotional abuse will be humiliated, and feel powerless to stand up for themselves.

Sexual Abuse

Most people think of sexual abuse as rape or sexual assault.  There are other things that an abuser will do that are considered sexual abuse.  If someone is forced to pose for pornographic pictures or video, or to show their body to people, that is included in this description of this type of violence.

Another type of violent sexual abuse is having sex with someone who can’t refuse. They may be incapacitated due to effects of drugs or alcohol.  They may be disabled or ill, or simply feel intimidated.  If they are not able to understand and consent to the sex act, that’s sexual abuse.  Forcing someone to have an abortion against their will is also a form of violence.

Violent Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the easiest to identify.  It involves injuring, disabling, or causing a fatality.  Physical abuse doesn’t necessarily mean that a weapon was used.  Injuries through physical abuse can occur with or without a weapon.  A person can be physically abused without needing medical treatment.  Any action against a victim, including biting, burning, shaking, shoving, choking, slapping, etc. will be violent abuse.

Threats of Violence

The mere threat of violence is considered to be abusive.  Threatening to hurt, scare, rape, or kill someone is domestic violence.  If a person is intimidated by a violent threat or possibility, that’s abuse.

Psychological Abuse

The abuser usually tries to keep the victim away from their support system.  They will forbid contact with family members and friends.  This makes it easier to control the victim through isolation.  They may exercise financial abuse. Sometimes a domestic partner is forbidden to have a job, or to have any money.

How Can You Help?

If you know someone who is being subjected to one or more types of abuse, first, be a friend.  Remember that victims of domestic violence often feel that they have no one to confide in.  Show positive support first, then urge them to get the help they need.

Most domestic violence will increase over time.  Victims want to believe the abuser when they are filled with remorse and apologize, but the tendency towards violence and abuse is still there.  To break the cycle of abuse, victims and abusers both need treatment.  Promises that it “will never happen again” are not to be taken as protection against violence.

Domestic Violence Programs

There are many domestic violence programs across the country.  If you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, do not delay in reaching out for help.  There are educational and support programs available.

For more information,  talk to one of our experienced domestic violence attorneys today.