Information adapted from The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence publication The Nature and Dynamics of Domestic Violence. For a full version of this publication, please click here.
Domestic violence is a pattern of assaultive or coercive behaviors that adults or adolescents use against their current or former intimate partners. Domestic violence occurs in intimate relationships where the perpetrator and the victim are currently or previously have been dating, living together, married or divorced. They may or may not have children in common.
Abuse can take many forms. Some types are more subtle than others and might never be seen or felt by anyone other than the person experiencing the abuse. The abuser uses a combination of tactics that work to control the victim. The abuse also usually increases in frequency and severity over time.
PHYSICAL ABUSE: Physical abuse is easier to recognize and understand than other types of abuse. Physical abuse can be indicated when the abuser:
SEXUAL ABUSE: Sexual violence and abuse can be extraordinarily difficult for victims to talk about because of the ways in which this type of violence often is perpetrated. Sexual abuse can be indicated when the abuser:
PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE: It is the abuser's use of physical and sexual force or threats that gives power to psychologically abusive acts. Psychological abuse becomes an effective weapon in controlling a victim, because the victim knows through experience that the abuser will at times back up the threats or taunts with physical assaults. Psychological abuse can be indicated when the abuser:
ECONOMIC ABUSE: Much like psychological abuse, it is the abuser's use of physical and sexual force or threats that gives power to economically abusive acts. Economic abuse can be indicted when the abuser:
Remember - - Every victim of domestic violence has a different and unique experience. Even if your partner does not engage in one or more of the behaviors listed above, you may still be experiencing abuse. If you are concerned that you or someone you care about could be in an abusive relationship, please visit our Local Domestic Violence Resources page and contact any domestic violence advocacy agency for help and guidance.