Gender and domestic violence: different forms of intimate partner violence

In discussing domestic or intimate partner violence, it is important (irrespective of the victims’ gender) to have an understanding of what this type of violence actually is. Many people who think of ‘intimate partner violence’ or ‘domestic violence’ have a particular image of this. But abuse can take a number of forms, not just physical. The article shared today is a fact sheet from Reach Out Australia that briefly explores the various forms domestic violence can take.

Reach Out outlines five main types of domestic violence that a person can experience. These are: physical, emotional, social, economic and spiritual violence. Physically hurting someone (physical abuse) is the most common form of abuse that people recognise as domestic violence, but less visible forms like manipulation and bullying (two forms of emotional abuse); purposefully isolating someone from friends and family (social abuse); making someone financially dependent on you (economic abuse); and controlling someone’s beliefs (spiritual abuse) are all also important to recognise in building respectful relationships between people of any gender.

Understanding the various forms that domestic violence can take is particularly important in the context of last week’s conversation surrounding Respectful Relationships education.

We can see that there are many forms of abuse that can occur within intimate partner violence. But are all these definitions represented within popular discussions of abuse? If not, how can we broaden the discussion to include them?

Reach Out Australia 2016, What is domestic violence?, Reach Out Australia, viewed 23 October 2016,