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Domestic Violence

Patterns of Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may begin in a physically nonviolent way; that is, with neglect, which can include not allowing her access to basic needs (food, shelter, hygiene items); not allowing her to sleep; or withholding physical intimacy as a way to control her. When the abuse moves into overt violence, he may begin with assaults such as painful pinching or squeezing. As the abuser escalates, he becomes more violent and his violence becomes targeted; that is, directed to a part of the body, such as the torso, where the injuries are less likely to show. When the abuser believes he will not be held accountable for his behaviors, he may inflict visible injuries. The following is a list of physically abusive behaviors:

  • Pinching and/or squeezing in a painful way

  • Pushing, shoving or restraining

  • Jerking, pulling, shaking or hair pulling

  • Slapping or biting

  • Targeted hitting, kicking, etc. so that injuries do not show. The abuser's actions here are evidence that he is not "out of control" when he batters. Instead he is using violence to control and exert power over the victim.

  • Strangling the victim

  • Throwing objects at the victim

  • Abuses the children sexually, physically, and/or emotionally

  • Sustained series of hitting or kicking blows, visible injuries

  • Physical abuse that requires medical treatment

  • Abuser deprives the victim of sleep, food, medicine, other essentials

  • Throwing the victim

  • Causing broken bones and/or internal injuries

  • Causing miscarriage or injuries that require a therapeutic abortion

  • Using objects at hand, such as household utensils, as weapons

  • Denying the victim medical treatment

  • Using weapons such as a gun or knife

  • Causing permanently disabling and/or disfiguring injuries

  • Murder

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