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What are the Types of Domestic Violence?

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP August 28, 2021

Any type of domestic abuse should be taken seriously and addressed as soon as possible. While this can sometimes be difficult to do, an experienced lawyer can help you take the proper steps. It’s also essential to understand that domestic abuse isn’t always physical, and it can often be hard to spot, especially for someone on the outside looking in. Learning about the different types of domestic violence can help you identify a dangerous situation that you or someone you care about might be involved in.


Most Common Types of Domestic Violence

Some of the most common types of domestic violence include the following:


Physical Abuse

When people think of domestic abuse, often, their first thought is that it must be someone who is being physically harmed. In some cases, this is accurate. Physical abuse generally includes aggressive/harmful behavior, threats of physical abuse, and behavior that indirectly causes physical harm. Common examples of physical abuse include hitting, kicking, biting, slapping, punching, stabbing, or the threatening of any of these behaviors, and more. Physical abuse can also include harming or threatening someone’s pets, children, or personal property. 


Sexual Abuse 

Sexual abuse is another common form of domestic violence. This type of abuse can also include physical and non-physical actions, such as the abuser forcing a person to have sex with them or others, making non-consensual sexual contact with a person, and even laughing and making fun of someone’s body, sexual preferences, and behaviors. Withholding sex as a means of controlling another person is also considered sexual abuse. 


Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse is the use of any abusive language intended to cause a person to feel embarrassed, afraid, or denigrated. This can include threatening to injure or kill someone, their pets, or their family. It can even include telling a person that they are worthless and putting them down constantly. If someone is incessantly yelling, screaming, name-calling, and even refusing to talk to a person, this can sometimes be considered verbal abuse. 



Domestic abuse doesn’t always include taking an action against another person. In some circumstances, domestic abuse can take the form of keeping a person isolated and away from their friends, family, and other loved ones. This is done as a way to control the victim and ensure that they don’t have a way to leave the relationship. The fewer people they speak with and see, the less likely it is that they will be able to get the help they need to report the abuse or leave the control of the abuser. 


Economic Abuse

Many people don’t think of personal finances when domestic abuse comes up, but this is actually a very common form of abuse. Financial or economic abuse is a way that abusers control their victims by limiting their access to money and other resources. Some examples include forcing the victim to put their money into the abuser’s bank account, refusing to let the victim work, or calling and harassing the victim at their job, causing them to lose their job. The less access a person has to money, the more difficult it is to get out of an abusive relationship, so this can be a severe form of abuse and control.


All Domestic Abuse is Serious

All types of domestic abuse should be taken seriously, regardless of whether it’s physical or verbal. It’s common for domestic abuse to show up later in a relationship after there has already been an established buildup of love and trust. This makes it even more difficult to report this abuse and leave the relationship. If you need help because you find yourself in an abusive relationship, it’s vital to contact a Boulder domestic violence lawyer as soon as you can.