4.11 Intimate Partner Violence

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Domestic abuse, also known as domestic violence, intimate partner abuse, and intimate partner violence, is defined as a pattern of behaviour in an intimate relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over one’s intimate partner. Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviours that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender, including transgender. It can occur within a range of relationships, including couples who are married, living together or dating. Domestic abuse affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels (“Domestic Abuse,” n.d.; Jonson-Reid & Drake, 2018, p. 101).

Signs that a person may be abusive to their partner include: 

  • Uses coercion and threats
  • Uses intimidation
  • Uses economic abuse
  • Uses male privilege, treats her like a servant
  • Controls finances, makes all the “big” decisions
  • Uses emotional abuse
  • Uses isolation, controls what you do, who you see, talk to, where you go
  • Is jealous
  • Justifies actions
  • Does not take responsibility for their behaviour
  • Minimizes, denies and blames others for their behaviour
  • Uses the children to abuse partner
  • Threatens to take children away
  • Uses children to harass or relay messages
  • Abuses pets
  • Abuses children
  • Abuses property
  • Makes others think they are crazy (“Domestic Abuse,” n.d)


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Child Maltreatment: An Introductory Guide With Case Studies Copyright © 2023 by Susan Loosley and Jen Johnson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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