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What is Abuse?

Domestic abuse is any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, in an intimate relationship, including emotional/psychological abuse or harassing behaviour. It happens in all kinds of families, across all abilities, ages, classes, ethnicities and sexual orientations. Domestic abuse can take many forms, such as:

Physical abuse - pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, kicking, punching, biting, choking, restraining in any way, threatening with a weapon

Emotional/psychological abuse - name calling, put-downs, insults, blaming, jealousy, possessiveness, isolating you from family or friends, intimidation and threats to harm you, your children, other family members, pets and/or property

Sexual abuse - any unwanted sexual contact, including unwanted kissing, fondling and sexual intercourse (rape), refusing to use condoms or other safer sex methods

Harassment - stalking (repeated unwanted contact), making uninvited visits or calls, following you, checking up on you

Financial abuse - controlling or withholding money, food, physical care, medical services/treatment; making someone depend on you for money, not letting you work

Spiritual abuse - disrespecting your beliefs or religion, stopping you from practicing your faith or religion or from meeting with your faith community.

Abuse rarely occurs only once.  Abuse usually gets worse and more frequent with time.  Ignoring the abuse is dangerous.