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Types of Abuse

You have the right to be safe.

Physical Abuse

Physical Abuse - is any physical act intended to control, harm, injure or inflict physical pain on another person.

Physical Abuse Includes:

  • Pushing/Shoving
  • Slapping
  • Punching
  • Choking
  • Kicking
  • Pulling Hair
  • Throwing Objects
  • Using Weapons
  • Restraining
  • Any Unwanted Physical Contact

Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse - is when someone is hurting another person’s feelings by saying mean things and name-calling. This is also called verbal abuse.

Emotional/Verbal Includes:

  • Swearing at you
  • Verbal put-downs
  • Shaming and ridiculing

Psychological Abuse

Psychological (mental) Abuse - is using fear, threats, ridicule and intentional putdowns; using what is known about your needs, fears, hopes, weaknesses and vulnerability to hurt/control you, and any strategy calculated to make you feel bad about yourself. Psychological (mental) abuse intentionally undermines your sense of self-worth, identity, confidence in your own perceptions of what is real, or sense of capacity and empowerment.

Psychological Abuse Includes:

  • Controlling what you do, who you see and/or where you go
  • Bullying, name calling and putting you down all the time
  • Abuser is always right and cannot be contradicted
  • Constant jealousy, suspicion and accusations
  • Using children to make you feel guilty
  • Not allowing you to work outside of the home
  • Abuser making all the “big” decisions
  • Inducing fears by threats, yelling and/or smashing things
  • Threatening you with violence (to hurt you or someone you love, including pets) or potential scenarios (taking the kids, leaking information/pictures)
  • Threatening to hurt or kill themselves
  • Gaslighting
  • Harassing you at work with phone-calls and/or visits
  • Destruction of your personal property/belongings

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse (or Marital Rape) - is being forced against your will to perform sexual acts, or, also have pain and injury inflicted during intercourse. Sexual abuse also incorporates elements of physical, emotional and psychological abuse.

A 1983 Canadian law has addressed the issue of sexual assault within relationships, making it a crime for a man to sexually assault his wife or partner.

Sexual Abuse Includes:

  • Any forced/non-consentual sexual contact
  • Forcing you to engage sexually with others
  • Getting angry at you when you don’t have sex with them
  • Verbal sexual harassment/threatening
  • Making you feel guilty about wanting or not wanting to have sex

Financial Abuse

Financial Abuse - is control over money/income.

You may live in a comfortable house, wear good clothing, have children who are well-equipped with toys and luxuries but you have no say over what is spent or saved.  You have no control over what amounts of money come into the family or any decisions about what will be bought and that you are not allowed any money for personal use or allowed only a small monetary allowance.

Financial Abuse Includes:

  • Controlling your income
  • Controlling money spent on rent, food, medication, etc.
  • Spending money foolishly/living beyond means
  • Withholding money
  • Forging another person’s signature
  • Spending on addictions, gambling, sexual services
  • Preventing you from taking a job
  • Keeping family finances a secret

Financial Abuse

Spiritual Abuse - is any action that does not allow you the freedom to practice your own spiritual way of being.

Spiritual Abuse Includes:

  • Not allowing you to attend ceremonies
  • Isolating you from Elders or traditional teachers
  • Forcing you to practice their spiritual beliefs
  • Stopping your efforts of personal growth
  • Putting you down because of your spiritual beliefs
  • Isolating you from family, friends, or community


Stalking - Stalking is repeated contact that makes a person feel afraid or harassed.

  • Often, a stalker is pursuing a woman with whom he has had an intimate relationship. This is the case 57% of the time.
  • Less frequently, someone will stalk another person to whom they have developed an attraction, but have had no intimate relationship, past or present. This could be a man becoming obsessed with a co-worker or a clerk or a waitress he sees frequently.


  • Trust your own instincts: Try to identify the cause of your feelings, fears, doubts, anxieties or suspicions.
  • Avoid all contact with your stalker; use different directions to your home and place of work or school.
  • Obtain a call display service.
  • Resist the urge to have just one more conversation with your stalker to make him stay away – this will only encourage them.
  • Tell people about what is happening with you and the danger you feel
  • Make the importance of keeping your personal information private clear to others.
  • Record the stalkers actions: To help identify patterns, and to provide the police. When recording your stalker's actions you should: name the stalker and give a physical description. If your stalker is charged with criminal harassment the information you record can be used against them as evidence. Any incidents of contact with the stalker, (phone calls, letters, visits, emails, messages through other people). Keep a record of incidents of harassment or threats and/or any incidents of harassment or threats to family friends or pets.  Include the date and time of the incident and if you saw what the stalker was wearing.
  • Always be prepared: Carry keys, I.D. cash/credit cards, prescriptions, the lease/deed to your home, marriage/divorce papers, restraining order, court documents from previous assaults, custody papers