What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is characterized by a series of repetitive acts that generally occur along an upward curve. Specialists call this progression « escalating violence ». In the aggressor, it follows a clear cycle, determined by successive phases, namely an increase in tension, aggression, failure to assume responsibility, remission and reconciliation. In the victim, these phases involve fear, anger, a feeling of responsibility for the violence and, finally, hope that the situation will improve. All phases do not always occur and might not follow this exact order. (Domestic Violence Response Policy, Gouvernement du Québec)

Domestic violence includes psychological, verbal, physical and sexual abuse as well as financial acts of domination. It does not result in a loss of control but, rather, constitutes a chosen method of dominating the other person and asserting power over them. It may be experienced in a marriage, affair or dating, at any age. (Domestic Violence Response Policy, Gouvernement du Québec)

The various forms of domestic violence


Psychological violence

Attitude and behavior designed to demean or scorn the other. Very subtle type of violence that results in diminishing the victim’s self-esteem and confidence. It might consist of negative comments uttered in front of others. Critiquing a partner’s skills in an unfavorable manner. Failing to communicate over a period of several days. Etc…


Physical abuse

Type of abuse whereby the abuser impairs someone’s physical integrity. For instance, all assault and battery. Throwing objects at the other person. Squeezing arms, shoving, pushing. Blocking a person’s path.


Verbal abuse

Abuse inflicted through words, tone of voice. Using an aggressive tone. Demeaning content addressed to one’s partner.


Economic abuse

Economic abuse occurs when the abusive spouse tries to control his/her partner’s sources of revenue or to dispose of money according to his/her whim. This involves controlling economic activity. For instance, taking away the partner’s credit cards. Deprived of income. Creating financial dependency.


Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse includes everything that relates to sexual violence, touching. Degrading comments linked to sexuality. Forcing his/her partner to watch or reenact pornography. Forcing unwanted relationships.


Social abuse

Social abuse results in isolating the woman. The significant other attempts to isolate his/her partner from her acquaintances, family and friends. He/she puts down his/her spouse’s hobbies and outings. The significant other makes life difficult whenever the spouse goes out (ex.: deluging number of texts, frequent calls, etc…).