The People’s Lawyer

Forms of domestic violence that can lead to family breakups

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Family Protection Orders

The family unit is as strong as the peace and safety within its walls. When domestic violence disrupts that peace, it can lead to irreparable harm, fracturing the foundation of trust and love that holds families together.

While physical assault remains the most visible form of domestic violence, there are numerous other equally damaging forms, such as the following.

Emotional abuse

Domestic violence does not have to be physical. Emotional abuse, which includes manipulation, humiliation, constant criticism and controlling behavior, can cause deep psychological wounds that can be just as devastating, if not more so, than physical injuries. It undermines a person’s sense of self-worth and can lead to severe emotional trauma, ultimately shattering the bonds of trust and love within a family.

Sexual abuse

Any form of non-consensual sexual activity, including rape, coercion, sexual harassment and forced sexual acts, constitutes sexual abuse within the context of domestic violence. This violation of personal autonomy and bodily integrity not only inflicts physical harm but also inflicts profound emotional and psychological trauma on the victim.

Financial abuse

In a family unit, finances matter a lot as they are often intertwined with stability and security. Financial abuse, which involves controlling, withholding or exploiting financial resources, can strip victims of their economic autonomy and independence. It can leave them financially dependent on the abuser, making it difficult for them to leave the abusive situation and rebuild their lives. This form of abuse can further exacerbate power imbalances within the family and contribute to its breakdown.

Elder or child abuse

While not directed at intimate partners, this form of abuse targets some of the most vulnerable members of the family unit: the elderly and children. Elder abuse involves mistreatment or neglect of older adults, often leading to physical, emotional or financial harm. Similarly, child abuse encompasses any act or failure to act that results in harm or potential harm to a child’s health, development or dignity. 

If you are a victim of domestic violence, consider seeking legal guidance to better understand the options you have such as obtaining family protective orders, which can provide legal protection and help ensure your safety and that of your family members.