Physical Abuse

Physical abuse may begin in a physically nonviolent way; that is, with neglect, which can
include not allowing access to basic needs (food, shelter, hygiene items); not allowing the victim to sleep; or withholding physical intimacy as a way to control the victim. When the abuse moves into overt violence, the abuser may begin with assaults such as painful pinching or squeezing. As the abuser escalates, they become more violent and this 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 they will not be held accountable for their behaviors, they 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 they are not “out of control” when they batter.
Instead they are 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