6 Different Types of Domestic Violence

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If you are a victim of domestic assault, it’s important that you alert law enforcement to the situation as soon as possible. Having a record of your domestic assault will help you establish a pattern of behavior if you decide to press charges. 

Domestic assault typically escalates over time, and even non-physical abuse can turn into physical violence. An experienced Grand Rapids attorney will be able to help you through the legal steps to protect yourself from further abuse.

In this blog post we will go over six different types of domestic violence. Hopefully, this blog post will help you get a better sense of your legal standing in pressing charges against your abuser and encourage you to seek help from a knowledgeable domestic violence attorney.

1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is one of the easier types of domestic assault to prove. Physical abuse can be defined as punching, hitting, kicking, biting, slapping, or any other type of action meant to cause physical harm to another person.

It’s important to understand that physical abuse doesn’t have to result in a trip to the hospital to be considered domestic assault. A common example of this would be if your partner slapped you across the face, but didn’t leave any marks. A domestic assault lawyer can help you prove your case against your abuser in court.

2. Emotional Abuse

Most people are unable to press charges on the basis of emotional abuse due to lack of evidence. However, emotional abuse often coincides with other types of abuse. 

Emotional abusers may try to manipulate and control their victim’s behaviors through unpredictable mood swings, belligerence, or even threats of suicide. Emotional abuse can quickly destroy a victim’s self-esteem and sense of security.

3. Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse is difficult to prove, but often coincides with other types of domestic violence. Abusers will often yell at their victims or say things meant to undermine their self-esteem. If you plan on pressing charges against your abuser, keep any abusive voicemail recordings in a location outside the home. 

4. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can be defined as rape, nonconsensual touching, harassment, or other degrading behaviors. Sexual abuse can also be defined as efforts to take away the control you have over your own reproduction. 

For example, if your partner pressures you to have an abortion or to have unprotected sex, you may be the victim of reproductive coercion. This could happen through verbal or emotional abuse, threats and manipulation, or by tampering with your birth control. 

5. Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is subtle, but dangerous to people trapped in abusive relationships. Most people are only able to escape from their abusers after they have secretly stockpiled enough money to keep them afloat until they find a job. 

However, financial abusers eliminate this possibility when they keep tight control over the money in a relationship. You may be a victim of financial abuse if you are denied money for essentials, such as food or clothing. Your partner may also have blocked your efforts to get a job.

Financial abuse is extremely common because many women quit their jobs to raise their children during the early years of their lives, leaving them without a career or source of income. However, when people are completely dependent on their partners for financial support, it makes it harder for them to leave abusive situations.

6. Digital Abuse

This is a form of abuse that has become more of an issue in recent years, as technology continuously gains prominence in our daily lives. Digital abuse is the use of technology to exert and maintain control over a partner. 

This could take many forms: incessant calling or texting, stalking, the use of GPS tracking, the use of social media to monitor behavior or send abusive messages, looking through your phone or computer without your permission, or using technology to blackmail you through the use of explicit photos or videos. 

When you’re with someone who uses digital abuse against you, their behaviors might start to feel normal over time. Please know that it’s not normal to have your privacy invaded, or to have your life monitored or scrutinized through the use of technology. 

How can I press charges for domestic assault?

If it is safe for you to do so, we recommend documenting the abuse by taking pictures of your injuries and including the dates the photos were taken. You will also want to take pictures of any weapons used by your abuser to harm or threaten you. A knowledgeable domestic assault attorney will be able to tell you what other kinds of evidence are permissible for your state.

If the type of abuse you are experiencing is not physical, try to document any evidence you can. This could include asking friends and family to testify about instances they’ve witnessed, or saving abusive messages or voicemails. 

For your safety, keep the documentation of domestic assault at a trusted friend or family member’s house. If you are isolated from a support system, you may be able to keep your documentation in a safety deposit box or at work. 

Under no circumstances should you tell your abuser your plans to press charges until you (and any other family members) are safely out of the house.

Do You Need Help?

If you find yourself in immediate danger, you need to call 911. For non-emergencies, you can call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline for guidance and support at 1-800-799-7233.


If you are interested in hiring our Grand Rapids domestic assault attorney, please feel free to call our Grand Rapids law firm at (616) 459-5344. Attorney Jerry Beurkens will do everything in his power to make sure your abuser faces legal consequences for their actions.

This blog post has been updated.

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