The 5 Main Types of Domestic Violence

Many people incorrectly believe that physical abuse is the only form of domestic violence. There are actually many different types of domestic violence, and it is important to know what they are and the differences between each.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors in an intimate relationship used by one partner to maintain power and control over the other. According to a report by Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), “In about 70% of cases, the allegation is deemed to be unnecessary or false.” Under this circumstance, you would want to enlist a Clackamas County criminal defense lawyer. However, no matter the claim, it is important to know what falls under the category of domestic violence and seek help from there.

That being said, there is a lot that falls into the category of domestic abuse, and there are many different categories because there are many different ways that someone can harm someone else.

Below is a list of the five main different types of domestic abuse as defined by the National Institute of Justice.

The 5 Main Types of Domestic Violence

Physical Violence

The most recognizable form of domestic violence, physical abuse involves the use of force against the victim. This can mean a variety of things—punching, kicking, stabbing, shooting, choking, slapping, biting, or forcing the victim to use drugs. Injuries do not need to be major, either. For example, a few slaps can still be considered domestic violence, even if the injuries do not require medical attention.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence includes sexual assault, rape, and harassment. Defined as the violation of an individual’s bodily integrity, sexual abuse may involve verbal, non-verbal, and physical behavior. Sexual abuse also includes particular behaviors that would limit reproductive rights, like preventing use of contraceptive methods and forcing abortion.

Financial Abuse

Probably considered one of the least obvious types of domestic violence, financial abuse can take many forms. One such example is when one spouse prevents the other from obtaining a job outside the home. Another example, which is extremely common, is when a joint account is controlled by just one partner. One of the toughest aspects about financial abuse is that there is no outward showing of the abuse. When the victim has no access to money except from the abuser, the victim is completely at the mercy of the abuser.

Emotional Abuse

Typically, emotional abuse is combined with other forms of abuse and often involves the destruction of the victim’s self-worth. It is very common for emotional abuse to be lumped together with intimidation control, as the batterer typically wants to maintain dominance over the victim. This controlling and destructive behavior can include constant criticism, name-calling, and embarrassment.

Psychological Abuse

This is a catch-all term for intimidating, threatening, or fear-causing behavior that is persistent and significant. Similar to emotional abuse, psychological abuse may not, on its own, be enough to bring a domestic violence charge to court. One example of psychological abuse includes instilling fear in an intimate partner through threatening behavior, such as controlling who the victim talks to and what they do.

Other Types of Domestic Violence


Stalking can be present in any of the various different types of domestic violence. Generally referring to harassing or threatening behavior, stalking is often the batterers way of controlling the victim. You can find out more about stalking on the National Institute of Justice’s website.

Verbal Abuse

Combined with a lot of the other forms of domestic violence, verbal abuse is any derogatory language that batterers use to denigrate or threaten a victim. This will include name-calling, threatening to hurt or kill the victim or people close to them, and/or yelling, screaming, or terrorizing the victim.

Technological Abuse

A form of verbal or emotional abuse, technological abuse is similar to cyber bullying. It occurs when a batterer uses technology, such as social media, to harass, stalk, or intimidate a victim. Those who perform technological abuse may also use technology to control a victim by controlling their various accounts and passwords.

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse falls under the emotional abuse umbrella. While it is not well known, that does not mean it is not prominent. Spiritual abuse is anything that gets in the way of the victim doing something that makes them feel good about themselves. If a partner does not let the other practice their own moral/religious beliefs or their own culture/values, that can be seen as spiritual abuse as well.

You can find more specific examples of domestic abuse at the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence.

Important Domestic Violence Statistics

There is a lot to know and understand about domestic violence. Below are some statistics you need to know in order to better understand how heavily a domestic violence case can affect a person.

Across the Country

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) has a tremendous amount of statistics regarding domestic violence. Here are just a few of them.

  • About 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. This equates to more than 10 million women and men over the course of a single year.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner abuse—ranging from physical violence and sexual violence to stalking that leads to victim injury, fearfulness, or worse.
  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point that they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

Domestic Violence in Oregon

  • Almost 1/3 of Oregon women reported experiencing some kind of domestic violence.
  • According to a study conducted by the Oregon’s Department of Services, Oregon domestic and sexual violence programs answered 139,580 calls for help in 2017. They also found that different domestic violence programs across Oregon educated over 75,620 community members.
  • Oregon’s mandatory arrest law states that any person accused of domestic violence will be immediately arrested, even if there is a possibility that the accusation is false.

Keeping Calm on the Stand | 7 Tips for Testifying in Court

If you have a court case coming up, chances are your stress levels are high. One of the most intimidating parts of going to court is taking the stand. There’s a lot to think about—how to present yourself, what to say, making sure you don’t say too much—it can become an overwhelming process. With the eminent scrutiny of testifying on your mind, here are a few tips for testifying in court to help you perform the best way possible.

1. Clothing is Important

No matter who you are, you’re going to want to dress in your best clothing. Come to court well-groomed and conservatively dressed—formal job interview garments are a safe choice when attending court. Your goal is to make a good first impression; you want to positively impact the jury’s thoughts of you. You want people to focus on what you’re saying and not on what you’re wearing.

2. Act Respectfully

A court ruling is not the time for you to promote your independence. You should avoid speaking out of turn, laughing, or using slang terms. Testifying at court means that seriousness is of utmost importance. Unless you’re talking to your Clackamas County criminal defense lawyer, refrain from speaking about the case unless someone directly asks you while on the stand.

3. Refresh Your Memory

Before you testify, do your best to recall all the details from the incident. Try to picture the scene, the different objects present, the conversations had—everything. The more detail you know, the better. However, you also need to make sure that you confirm your story about what happened. This way when either side asks you questions—and they won’t be easy—you can draw upon the things you’ve determined you remember.

4. Speak Slowly and Truthfully

Make sure to present your testimony slowly, clearly, and loud enough so everyone in the room can clearly hear you. Some courtrooms have microphones to help with volume, but even then, you’ll still need to speak up. It’s also important to note that when a lawyer is asking you questions, he/she may try to rile you up. Even if you’re upset, continue to respond as though you are talking directly to the judge or jury.

5. Answer Questions Only

It’s the opposing councils’ job to try and get you to provide them with more information than necessary. This is why it is important to only answer the questions that are asked. Refrain from over-explaining—lawyers will try to exploit these extra details you’ve shared. Remember to only answer the questions directly asked to you, and keep your responses concise to prevent the opposing council from getting more information than they need.

6. Avoid Absolutes

It’s extremely rare that someone would remember every little detail about an incident; that’s why it’s crucial you avoid talking in absolutes. For example, the phrase “that is everything that happened,” can actually bring harm to your case. Memory can be a tricky thing, and what you remember may be different from what someone else remembers. Circumstances may change, and when you use absolutes you don’t leave any room for mistakes.

7. Stay Calm

When it comes to testifying, the most important thing you can do is stay calm—do not lose your temper. Emotion is good, but too much of it can inhibit your case. Remember, “Oregon only incarcerates approximately 25% of its convicted felons, ranking it 39th lowest amongst the 50 states.” Almost every person who testifies is nervous—breathe slowly and keep in mind that a calm and courteous testimony is your best bet.