What is physical abuse?

Physical abuse is the most visible form of abuse and there are a couple of different types of physical abuse a person may experience. Physical violence can be something that tends to start slowly or less obviously. If you have been physically abused there are a number of things you can do to get support.

This might be a problem if you’re:

  • Feeling afraid of your partner all the time

  • Avoiding certain topics because you’re afraid of making your partner angry

  • Feeling like you can’t do anything right, or you are walking on eggshells around their anger and rages

  • Believing that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated

  • Feeling emotionally numb

What is physical abuse?


Physical abuse basically involves a person using physical force which causes, or could cause, harm.


Types of physical abuse


Some types of abuse include:

  • Scratching or biting

  • Pushing or shoving

  • Slapping

  • Kicking

  • Choking or strangling

  • Throwing things

  • Forced feeding or denial of food

  • Use of weapons

  • Physical restraint (such as pinning against a wall, floor, bed etc)

  • Reckless driving


How it starts?

Many survivors of physical abuse say that the violence started small with just a slap or a push, then got more intense over time.

An abuser will often blame something or someone else for the violence, including blaming the victim for saying or doing something which caused the violent behavior. Sometimes the abuser will excuse their behavior as being a result of alcohol or drugs, stress or frustration.

It is also quite common for the abuser to be apologetic after the assault. The person who behaved violently will quite often regret their actions, which makes it more difficult for the victim of assault to leave the relationship.

What should I do if I’ve been physically abused?

If you have been physically abused it is really important that you seek help. Physical abuse isn’t something that you should have to deal with on your own and the right support will make handling the situation much easier on you. There are a number of services which can help if you need someone to talk to.

Most importantly, if you are currently fearful or believe you are in danger, contact emergency services (100) immediately.

I’m in an abusive relationship- what should I do?

If you are in an abusive relationship, the most important thing to do is stay safe. This can be hard, but there are services to help you plan for safety. If you are living with your partner, you may want to take the following measures to ensure your safety.

  • Are you in immediate danger? If you are in danger of being hurt, or you are worried about your safety, contact police or emergency services (100) immediately and try to move to somewhere safe.

  • Do you have support? Making a decision to leave a situation where you feel unsafe may be hard and scary. If possible, talk to someone you trust, like a friend, family member, counselor or youth worker who understands domestic violence. You can also contact an organisation in your state or territory who can give you relevant information on seeking help.

  • Talk to the police: If you feel unsafe or scared, the police can be good people to talk to. If you or someone you know have been hurt, contact emergency services (100) immediately.

  • Trust yourself: If someone is hurting you or threatening to, it can be hard to maintain your self-confidence. Remember it is NEVER OK for someone to hurt or threaten to hurt you for any reason.

  • Know your rights: It may be a good idea to check out your legal rights. 

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