This page provides information on the different types of domestic violence, including physical, emotional or psychological, sexual, social, financial, technological, stalking and spiritual abuse.

What is family and domestic violence?

Family and domestic violence (FDV) is when someone intentionally uses violence, threats, force or intimidation to control or manipulate a family  member, partner or former partner. It is charactised by an imbalance of power whereby the perpetrator uses abusive behaviours and tactics to obtain power and control over the victim causing fear. The violence is intentional and systematic and often increases in frequency and severity the longer the relationship goes on. Statistics show that women experience FDV at far greater rates than men (Women's Council 2011). FDV does not discriminate as it can occur across different cultures, ages, socio-economic groups including different religious groups, FDV has many forms as provided below.

Physical abuse

Physically abusive acts include:

  • Actual or threatening physical harm causing injuries (e.g. cuts, bruises, broken bones)
  • Hitting, punching, biting, hair pulling, slapping and choking
  • Threatening or causing harm with weapons
  • Denied sleep, food, liberty or warmth and nutrition.
  • Property damage
  • Denied medical care
  • Driving dangerous
  • Abusing pets and others animals

Emotional/psychological abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse is the use of implied or explicit threats of violence to induce fear and damage the abused persons self-esteem and mental health.

This includes:      

  • Intimidation
  • Name calling like "stupid", "fat", "lazy", "useless" and constant put downs
  • Playing mind games
  • Threatening the children's safety and the safety of family and friends
  • Threatening self harm/suicide
  • Blaming you for all the problems in the relationship

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse includes acts like:

  • Pressuring you to have sex against your will (rape)
  • Forcing you to take part in sexual acts that you re uncomfortable with
  • Humiliation during sex
  • Causing you pain during sex
  • Assaulting your genitals
  • Non-consensual unprotected sex 
  • Insisting other people are part of your sexual relationship without your consent

Social abuse

Social abuse includes acts like:

  • Prevent you from leaving the house
  • Controlling where you go, who you see and what you wear
  • Refusing your right to education
  • Making all of the big decisions 
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Controlling use of mobiles, phones, internet and car
  • Public humiliation and insults.
  • Made to feel guilty for going to work or socialising

Financial abuse

Financial abuse includes acts like:

  • Denied access to money
  • Controlling your income
  • Having access and control over all of the bank accounts and passwords
  • Preventing you from seeking or maintaining employment
  • Having to ask for basic items such as food, petrol, clothing
  • Forcing to provide receipts for all purchases
  • Dictating how money is spent        

Spiritual abuse

Spiritual abuse includes acts like:
  • Denying you access to ceremonies, land or family
  • Forcing you to do things against your cultural beliefs
  • Preventing you from going to a place of worship or praying 
  • Disrespectful of cultural background, or using religious teachings or cultural tradition as a reason for violence


Stalking abuse includes acts like:

  • Repeatedly calling on the phone
  • Sending constant emails, letters or using social media (signing in to your Facebook or twitter accounts)
  • Loitering near your home, workplace or following you in a car
  • Involving friends, family and acquaintances to monitor your whereabouts 
  • Organising unwanted home deliveries or sending flowers or chocolates

Technology abuse

Technology abuse is used to directly or indirectly monitor or stalk the victim. This can occur without the victim knowing such a personal information being posted on social media, installing tracking devices in cars and mobile phones e.g. spyware, listening devices, hidden cameras, keystroke logging hardware.