The many different forms of domestic violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence connects domestic violence to approximately 20% of violent crimes in California.
Domestic violence comes in many forms, and California recognizes that. Each type carries its distinct features.
Physical abuse is often the most visible and recognized form of domestic violence. It includes acts of physical harm such as hitting, kicking, choking or any other violent behavior that inflicts pain or injury. Even the threat of physical violence can fall under this category, as it creates an environment of fear and control.
The silent nature of emotional abuse may not leave physical scars, but the damage can be equally severe. This type of abuse involves actions designed to undermine a person’s self-esteem and independence. Examples of emotional abuse include constant criticism, humiliation, manipulation and isolation from friends and family. While more difficult to recognize, emotional abuse has a profound impact on a person’s mental health and well-being.
While less recognized, financial abuse is another form of domestic violence that is just as harmful. It involves controlling a person’s access to financial resources, thus limiting their independence. This can include withholding money, preventing employment or controlling all financial decisions.
Sexual abuse in a domestic setting involves any non-consensual sexual act or behavior. It can range from forced sexual contact to reproductive coercion, where one partner controls the other’s reproductive choices. Like all forms of domestic violence, sexual abuse is about power and control.
Often connected with other forms of domestic violence, psychological abuse involves causing fear through such things as intimidation, threatening physical harm to self, partner, children or partner’s family or friends or threatening the destruction of pets and property.
Stalking involves unwanted and obsessive attention by an individual. It often shows up as constant surveillance, unwanted communication and threatening behavior.
Each of these types of domestic violence involves a pattern of abusive behavior used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. The trauma caused by these acts extends far beyond the immediate harm, often leaving long-lasting emotional and psychological scars. In California, individuals facing such situations have legal protections and access to support services to help them seek safety and justice.