8 different types of abuse

Abuse is cruelty, violence, humiliation, or aggressive behavior from one person to another person or animal, causing physical, sexual, psychological or emotional harm. Anyone, whatever their age, gender, race or background can be a victim of abuse.

It is estimated that child abuse or neglect affects 1 in 7 children in the United States annually. Similarly, it is estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States has been infected by an intimate partner.

This article explains the different types of abuse, the causes, risks, treatments, how to deal with them, and how to report abuse.

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Who is affected by abuse?

Abuse is when a person physically, sexually, psychologically, psychologically, or emotionally harms another person or animal with behaviors that are cruel, violent, degrading, or aggressive. Children, adults, the elderly, and anyone can be victims of abuse. In addition, there are several different types of abuse.

child abuse

Child abuse and neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver harms a child physically, sexually, or psychologically, or does not attend to their needs. This is a serious problem all over the world, including in the United States. They range in severity and can be fatal. Nearly 2,000 children died in the United States as a result of abuse or neglect in 2019 alone.

What is neglect?

Neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver does not provide the necessary care. Examples of neglect include:

  • Failure to provide adequate housing, food, education, clothing, or access to Medicare
  • Ignoring a child’s emotional needs, such as when they cry or have mental health problems
  • Allowing a child to witness violence or abuse
  • Indifference to the well-being of the child

Adult Abuse

Adult abuse is similar to child abuse in that it involves one person hurting another, but the victim is an adult. It can be of a physical, sexual, psychological or emotional nature. One common form of adult abuse is intimate partner violence, which occurs when one person in an intimate relationship causes physical, psychological, or sexual harm to the other person in the relationship, the partner.

However, adult abuse is not limited to intimate partners and can be abuse of any adult.

Elder abuse

Elder abuse is physical, psychological, sexual, or physical harm or neglect by a person of another person 65 years of age or older. Older adults who do not have family or friends, or those who have a disability or have memory problems, are at increased risk of abuse. Although more women are affected, older men can also be abused.

Elder abuse is very common in nursing homes and assisted care facilities. As many as 1 in 3 adults are victims of abuse in nursing homes by some estimates.

types of abuse

Children, adults and the elderly can be subjected to different types of abuse. Some experiment with a mix of types. For example, an adult may be abused by their partner (intimate partner violence) in the form of sexual, psychological, and physical abuse repeatedly over a period of years. While each type of abuse is different and can range in severity, frequency, and duration, it can have a significant impact on overall well-being.

The eight types of abuse are:

  • physical assault: When a person harms another and causes harm to his body.
  • sexual violenceAny form of sexual violence or exploitation.
  • Psychological or emotional abuseNon-physical abuse: When someone intentionally harms another person’s mental health in a way that is not physical, it is sometimes referred to as non-physical abuse.
  • Financial or physical abuseThe misuse or taking of another person’s money, assets, or property for personal gain, sometimes by coercion, threat, or deception.
  • Domestic violence or intimate partner violence: When someone physically harms their partner.
  • discriminatory abuseWhen one person treats another person differently based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other characteristics, causing harm to others, or causing harm, harassment, harm, or other actions .
  • neglect or abandonmentWhen a person responsible for the care of another person does not provide the necessary care or leaves them without care. This can be neglect of a child, the elderly, a disabled or ill person, or anyone who needs care.
  • Workplace violence or organizational/institutional abuseIntimidation or physical force related to employment and the work environment.

the reasons

People may abuse other people for various reasons, including substance abuse and mental health conditions. Abusive people may abuse themselves. The cycle of abuse occurs when children learn abusive behaviors from being abused or witnessing abuse. In addition, children of families with lower socioeconomic status are five times more likely to be abused or neglected, which may be related in part to increased stress levels.

Abuse is never the victim’s fault

Regardless of the cause, the abuse is never justifiable, and it is never the victim’s fault.


The primary effects of abuse are physical, psychological, and emotional harm, and sometimes death. Physical abuse can be so severe that it leads to death, and there is a link between abuse, including emotional and psychological abuse, and suicide. Victims of abuse may develop depression and PTSD or PTSD. Sexual abuse may result in an unintended pregnancy.

Additionally, abuse can lead to traumatic bonding or distressing bonding. This occurs when victims of abuse form emotional bonds with their abusers and experience relationships with power imbalances and ongoing harm.

treatment or treatment

Treatment for abuse depends on the type of abuse, its severity, and the damage inflicted. Types of care include:

  • Medical care to help treat injuries such as cuts and broken bones.
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy), including psychological therapies focused on trauma, is used to treat psychological and emotional harm, including learning how to live well after experiencing abuse.

Suicide Prevention Helpline

If you have suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 For support and assistance from a trained advisor. If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see the National Helpline Database.

how to deal

In addition to medical treatments and speech therapy, there are many things that victims of abuse can do to deal with the effects and improve overall well-being and quality of life after the assault.

It is important to prioritize physical and mental health by getting enough quality sleep, managing stress, and being relaxed throughout the day. This promotes physical and mental healing. Regular exercise and participating in a creative outlet such as a hobby can also help.

It’s also important to be aware of the thoughts and to develop healthy self-talk. This is a skill that can be learned and practiced. A trained mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychiatrist can help you with this process.

How to report abuse

Any kind of abuse can be reported by contacting your local law enforcement authorities. In addition, many countries have systems and phone numbers dedicated to reporting abuse. If there is an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately for an emergency response. There are many other resources available to help report abuse, create a safety plan, and leave abusive situations, including hotlines specifically for domestic violence and abuse, child abuse, and sexual abuse.


Abuse is harm done by one person to another. It can be physical, psychological, emotional or sexual. Anyone can be abused, including children, adults and the elderly. Other types of abuse include financial or physical abuse, domestic or intimate partner violence, discriminatory abuse, neglect or abandonment, workplace violence or organizational/industrial abuse.

People who are abused are at increased risk of adverse effects such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The physical and mental effects of abuse are treated with medical care and talk therapy. There are also ways to cope to help, such as relaxation, stress management, and thought management.

Abuse can be reported by calling local authorities or national hotlines, and 9-1-1 can be called in an emergency. Support is available for abusive situations and for coping with the long-term effects of the abuse after leaving the abusive situation.

Word from Verywell

If you or someone you know is being abused, help is available. It can be difficult to find a way out, but there is a way out.

For a case of domestic violence or abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 7233-799-800-1. If you suspect child abuse or potential harm, call or text the National Child Helpline Hotline. 1-800-422-4453. For sexual assault support, call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 4673-656-800-1.

There can also be many feelings that accompany abuse, such as shame and guilt. Remember that the abuse is not the victim’s fault. A therapist can help you overcome emotional challenges after abuse, and you may find relief, both physically and emotionally.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can you help someone who is being abused?

    There are many things that can be done to help someone who is being abused. First, make yourself available to talk to them when they can safely away from the abuser. Encourage and empower them by telling them that you are there for them and offering to help in specific ways. Provide them with resources and professionals they can call for help and support in dealing with or leaving the abusive situation. Finally, let them make their own decisions, even if, perhaps, for the time being, they decide not to leave.

  • How can you protect a child from abuse?

    Any suspected child abuse or abuse of children can and should be reported to the child protection agency at the local, county or state level. In addition, call or text the National Child Abuse Helpline at 1-800-422-4453 To speak with a professional crisis counselor.

  • Why do victims of abuse feel guilt?

    It is common for victims of abuse to feel guilt. This could be the result of thoughts that they should have done something to prevent or stop the abuse, or that they did something wrong to deserve the abuse. These ideas are not correct. The abuse is not the victim’s fault.