Physical violence is partner abuse when it is intended to enhance the power and control of the abuser over the partner. If the partner is fearful of the abuser, if the partner modifies his behavior in response to the assault or potential assault, or if the partner intentionally maintains a particular routine of behaviors in an effort to avoid violence – despite his preference not to do so – then this is partner abuse.
Physical abuse can be defined as the threat of harm or any forceful physical behavior that intentionally or accidentally causes bodily harm or property destruction, including the following:
- Hitting, beating, choking, pushing, slapping, kicking, pulling hair, biting, punching, backhanding, arm twisting, shoving, kicking or burning
- Holding the partner down or preventing the partner from leaving
- Throwing and/or threatening with objects
- Locking the partner out of the home
- Refusal to get the partner help or medical attention
- Forced use of substances (e.g. alcohol and drugs
- Depriving the partner of medication
- Denying or interfering with the partner meeting his basic physical needs (e.g. eating and sleeping)
- Smashing, damaging, stealing or selling the partner’s possessions
- Threatening to use or the use of a weapon against the partner (e.g. hammer, knife, gun, etc.)
- Driving recklessly
- Punching walls or doors
Physical abuse also can be used against children and pets, as well as the partner’s friends and family.