What is Conflict?

What is Conflict?

What is Conflict?

Everyone experiences conflict in relationships at some point in their lives. Conflict usually involves verbal arguments. However, this can escalate to the occasional use of bullying, emotional and even physical assault. The destruction of property and personal belongings may also occur particularly during an argument.

Sleep loss, increased stress levels as well as low or negative mood are often associated with the presence of conflict.

The repeated presence of conflict can change feelings and behaviours towards another and have a negative impact upon the relationship.

Conflict between individuals may also impact upon the relationships among and environment surrounding other adults or children not directly involved in the dispute.

Conflict can have a negative effect upon the individuals involved. The behaviours used may resemble abuse. However, while abuse and conflict are often related and can co-occur, it is important to distinguish between them.

The Difference between Conflict and Abuse.

  • Conflict involves a certain level of mutual disagreement where two or more people cannot get along.
  • Abuse in contrast involves one or more individuals repeatedly controlling, threatening and seriously harming another in a motivated and calculated manner.

Definition of Conflict: The presence of discord in relationships that affect levels of cohesion and convergence. Conflict can involve the occasional and often equal use of verbal, emotional and physical assault as well as the destruction of property during or after a period of disagreement. Conflict may negatively impact upon the level of intimacy, support, attachment and commitment to the relationship
(Hempenstall, in press)


What is Violence?

What is Violence?

What is Violence?

Violence is the use of physical force against another person or group of people. Violence includes physical and sexual assault. It can also include threats of violent actions.

Violence can cause death or serious injury as well as emotional harm.

Violence can be intentional or unintentional. The perpetrators may be female and male adults, children or adolescents working in groups or alone.

Violent actions can include obvious forms of physical force including hitting, punching and beating. It may also involve inappropriately giving drugs or medication to another.

Definition of violence: The motivated single or repeated use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person, or against a group or community, that results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation (Hempenstall, in press).

What is Abuse?

What is Abuse?

What is Abuse?

There is no simple definition of abuse.

Abuse involves a variety of behaviours, many of which are illegal.

Abuse is not a once-off event. It is the repeated use of physically violent, psychologically abusive and dominating behaviours.

Different types of abuse can often co-occur.

The most common forms of abuse include:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Social abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Neglect
  • Deprivation
  • Exploitation
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Destruction of property

Abuse is not simply a set of behaviours. Importantly it can define a relationship and affect how people interact with each other.

Abuse occurs in a number of different settings.  Abusers can be male and female adults, adolescents or children.

Abuse can be separated into different categories depending upon the type of relationship the abuser has to the individual.

Contexts in which abuse occurs:

  • Domestic or Intimate relationships
  • Familial relationships
  • Community and neighbourhood

Definition of Abuse: The motivated and persistent use of criminal and non-criminal physical contact and non-contact behaviours against an individual or individuals that causes significant harm. Harm refers to both physical injury and negative effects upon psychological well-being including impairment of intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development.
(Hempenstall, in press)

Types of Abuse?

• Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse

The term sexual violence generally refers to:

  • Rape:  penetration without consent
  • Sexual assault:  sexual contact without consent
  • Aggravated sexual assault: forced sexual contact through the use of violence or threats of violence

These crimes often involve a range of behaviours that further humiliate and degrade an individual.

Sexual abuse is the repeated use of a variety of contact and non-contact sexual offences.

Sexual abusers can be male or female adults, adolescents or even children.

Direct or contact sexual abuse

Commonly reported contact behaviours include:

  • Forced penetration or unwanted touching and fondling
  • Unwanted use of excessive force during consensual intercourse
  • Use of threats, intimidation or violence to perform sexual acts
  • The unwanted insertion or use of objects to cause pain and to dominate or control

Indirect or non-contact sexual abuse

Non-contact sexual abuse often co-occurs with direct sexual violence. This type of abuse ranges considerably and can include:

  • Forced participation in the making of pornographic material, prostitution and sexual activity with others
  • Sexual humiliation or degrading in private or public
  • Exposing a child to the sexual activity of others
  • Talking to, taunting or teasing in an unwanted sexual manner

Contact details of intervention and support services for people who have experienced sexual violence and abuse can be found here http://www.vapa.ie/supportservices.html#sexual

Additional information

Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking involves deliberately seeking, hiding, transporting or obtaining people for the specific purpose of financial gain through the commercial sex trade.
However, sex trafficking involves a variety of related contact as well as non-contact illegal behaviours. These behaviours can range from protecting criminal networks or traffickers to administering drugs to a victim for the purpose of kidnapping and restraining.

Sex traffickers can be both male and female. Targeted individuals are reportedly primarily female. However, victims of sex trafficking can be male and female children, adolescents as well as adults.

Many victims are trafficked through the use of:

  • Physical force
  • Deception
  • Threatening behaviour or coercion
  • Peonage (debt repayment system)
  • Kidnap

Victims are unable to leave the sex trade for a number of different reasons. Threats to harm them or their family members if they leave are common practice. Illegal immigration status may mean that reporting their situation to authorities and seek support seems impossible. Victims may owe large and often unattainable amounts of money to pimps / traffickers.

Victims’ self-esteem and sense of worth is often destroyed through the use of repeated:

  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Gang rape
  • Physical violence
  • Drugging or substance supply

Sex trafficking most commonly results in forced prostitution or the unwilling participation in commercial sex. However, trafficking can also involve individuals who consent to becoming involved in the sex trade. Despite initially consenting, these adults are often deceived and forced to work under conditions that they had not originally agreed to.

Contact details of support services for people who have experienced sex trafficking can be found here: http://www.vapa.ie/supportservices.html#sexual

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

CSE is the practice of gaining money or other reward such as drugs, food, shelter, sexual gratification or power through sexually exploiting a child. This form of criminal behaviour is most commonly associated with trafficking.

However, CSE can begin within the family unit. Family members may make their own children “available” to others for sexual gratification.

CSE can also involve non-contact behaviours including:

  • Using a child for recording material of a sexual nature such as posing or modeling
  • Persuading or encouraging a child to act in a sexual manner or to have sexual contact with others
  • Allowing a child to engage in prostitution
  • Using grooming techniques to develop trust and encourage participation


Organized Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse does not always involve one perpetrator and one victim. Organized sexual abuse can involve subjecting multiple children to sexual activity often with multiple abusers.

This abuse can include sadistic, ritualistic or honour forms of abuse. The most common way that a child is exposed to this form of abuse is through a family member or acquaintance introducing them or making them available for abuse.

Other children may be trafficked into organized abuse through official institutions which the child has regular contact with (for example school, religious, community or youth groups)

Contact details of support services for people who have experienced child sexual abuse can be found here: http://www.vapa.ie/supportservices.html#sexual

Juveniles and Preadolescents Displaying Sexually Abusive Behaviours

Sexually abusive behaviours can and sometimes does begin in early and preadolescence. The targeted individual is often a family member or someone in close and regular contact with the young person.

While children and teenagers are naturally curious about their bodies and sexuality, there is a distinct difference between innocent curiosity and abuse.

Abuse always involves repeated behaviours and the use of bribery, grooming tactics (gift giving,  or violence. Juveniles and preadolescents who are sexually abusive towards others display and use many of the same behaviours as adult abusers.

Many young people who display sexually abusive behaviours do not go on to offend as adults if help is sought early

Contact details of intervention and support services for young people displaying sexually abusive behaviours can be found here: http://www.vapa.ie/supportservices.html#sexual

• Physical Abuse

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the repeated use of physical force or violence against one or more people.

Commonly reported physically abusive behaviours include:

  • Punching, slapping or kicking
  • Throwing against the wall or onto the floor
  • Deliberating biting, burning or scalding
  • Shaking violently or dragging across the floor by the hair or clothing
  • Using an object or weapon to hurt or cut
  • Attempted strangulation or restriction of airway
Physical abuse further involves the indirect use of abusive tactics which include:
  • Inappropriately restraining or tying down
  • Inappropriately giving drugs or medication to another.
Corporal punishment or using particularly harsh disciplinary methods is a further example of physical abuse. While many parents or primary caregivers punish a child using physical means, these methods often result in serious bodily pain or injury. It is possible that the repeated use of these methods may be categorized as physical abuse.

Definition of physical Abuse: The motivated and persistent use of criminal physical contact and non-contact behaviours that result in the physical injury of another. This may include, hitting, kicking, burning, shaking, throwing, suffocating, inappropriately restraining and inappropriately administering drugs or medication to another (Hempenstall, in press)

To learn more about the effects of repeatedly physically punishing a child please see contact details of services here: http://www.vapa.ie/supportservices.html#children

• Emotional or Psychological Abuse

Emotional or Psychological Abuse

Emotional or Psychological abuse almost always happens with, and often precedes, physical assault as well as other forms of abuse.
It is possible that this form of abuse is the only or most common type of abuse occurring in the relationship.

This repeated form of abuse is often the most difficult to deal with. It impacts upon a targeted person's sense of reality and self worth.

Emotional or psychological abuse can be extremely subtle and not obvious to others. It can range from threatening looks or gestures to more obvious or public expressions of criticism.

Common emotionally abusive behaviours include:

  • Extreme verbal insults, belittling or degrading
  • Deliberate threats with weapon, self or other harm in order to instill fear and make someone comply with demands
  • Minimizing, blaming or denying abuse
  • Unreasonable or unattainable demands placed upon another
  • Forced through bribery, grooming or manipulation into illegal behaviour
  • Regular severe sarcasm or hostility
  • Premature imposition of responsibility on a child
  • Uneven or conditional affection
  • Extreme under or overprotection
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Deliberate exposure to violence or abuse

Emotionally abusive behaviours also include tactics that can place extra pressure on another. These behaviours include:

  • Threats to commit suicide or self harm if relationship ended
  • Threats to kill or harm others
  • Threatening to or actually taking the children away

Many abusers have “two faces” – one public, the other private. These people can be extremely outgoing, pleasant and seemingly supportive to friends, colleagues and members of the public while in private are very abusive. This severe type of personality change can be confusing as well as frustrating to the targeted individual. It can result in lowered self-esteem and the ability to report abuse as well as increase the perpetrators control over another.

Definition of Emotional Abuse:The motivated and persistent use of criminal and non-criminal, non-physical contact behaviours that result in the emotional maltreatment of another. This may involve public and private degradation including; name-calling, criticizing or belittlement and trivializing or minimizing abusive behaviour. It further involves threats to kill or harm, grooming and harassing behaviour. (Hempenstall, in press)


• Social Abuse

Social Abuse

Social abuse involves deliberately or forcefully isolating an individual from normal social interaction.

Isolating someone from a social support network is a very common practice in abusive relationships and is quite easily achieved overtime.

Being socially isolated in this manner can be a risk factor for abuse.

Isolation can:

  • Destroy the self-confidence of another,
  • Decrease trust in others,
  • Increase anxiety or depression
  • Helps increase an abusers control over another.

Social isolation can leave an individual completely dependent upon their abuser. It can reduce a person’s ability to leave or report the abuse.

Commonly reported socially isolating tactics include:

  • Restricting access to friends and family
  • Convincing another that other people are not good for them
  • Restricting or monitoring the use of transportation
  • Restricting the amount of time a person can see or meet friends or relatives
  • Making the targeted person feel excessively guilty for spending time with others
  • Excessive jealously and co-occurring violence when the target individual speaks to others
  • Telling lies about family, friends or other people for the purpose of reducing contact
Definition: The motivated and persistent use of physical and non-physical contact behaviours that result in the prevention of or restriction in social interaction with others. Non-contact behaviours include excessive jealous or violent reactions to contact with others and the monitoring and censoring of social contact.(Hempenstall, in press)

• Financial Abuse

Financial Abuse

Placing restrictions or conditions on access to money are basic examples of the many tactics used in financial abuse.

Financial abuse can further involve deliberate disruptions to employment or the prevention of a targeted individual from working.

However, financial abuse is not simply about restrictions. Theft of money or personal property is also common practice.

Financial abuse can leave a person completely dependent upon an abuser. It can further ensure that the targeted individual’s ability to leave the situation becomes more difficult.

Commonly reported behaviours include:

  • Being given a small "allowance" to complete a number of tasks (example: buy food, clothing, medications etc.)
  • Purchase of gifts or cash-gifts following an abusive episode
  • Pressure to alter a will or deeds
  • Financial exploitation or misuse of a persons savings and assets
  • Fraud and theft of personal property
  • Deliberately placing bills and debts in the name of a targeted individual

Definition: The motivated and persistent illegal or improper use and management of another’s funds, property and assets. This may also involve the inappropriate withholding or withdrawal of financial support and the use of coercion or blackmail to gain access to another’s finances (Hempenstall, in press)

• Neglect


While abuse can be defined as intentionally causing harm to another, neglect involves the failure to provide or perform what is required for the healthy development or the sustained wellbeing of another.

Neglect, like other forms of abuse is pattern of behaviour.

Commonly reported behaviours include:

  • Needed medical care or attention
  • Appropriate supervision
  • Appropriate required help to aid a disabled person
  • Adequate food, water, clothing or access to education and social interaction
  • Appropriate protection against environmental hazards or exposure to harmful and unsafe situations in the community and in the family home

Neglect is often mistakenly associated solely with low socioeconomic status or communities with a low employment rate. Limited access to money and restricted ability to provide for a dependent other is not the same as neglect.

Neglect is the failure to perform what is necessary and achievable in order to maintain a person’s physical, emotional or safety needs and is found across all all socioeconomic sections of society.

Definition: The motivated and persistent use of criminal and non-criminal, non-physical contact behaviours that result in a failure to provide essential emotional support, food, shelter, clothing, education, hygiene and medical or dental care for another. Neglect further involves inappropriate or no supervision (Hempenstall, in press)

• Deprivation


In similarity to neglect, deprivation is difficult to define because it may include elements of other types of abuse.

The terms “Neglect” and “Deprivation” are commonly used to refer to the same thing. However in contrast to neglect, deprivation has distinct characteristics which involve the deliberate denial or withdrawal of basic needed requirements.

This deliberate withdrawal or denial can seriously affect the physical and emotional wellbeing of other.

Basic requirements include:

  • Medical care,
  • Food,
  • Sleep,
  • Appropriate emotional support
  • Appropriate affection or care.

Deprivation may further involve the deliberate denial or withdrawal of:

  • Decision making powers
  • Free speech.
  • The right to perform or engage in certain activities
Definition: The motivated and persistent use of criminal non-physical contact behaviours that result in the deliberate denial or withdrawal of basic essentials required for sustained healthy emotional, physical, social and psychological development. Basic requirements include financial, social, educational and decision-making powers (Hempenstall, in press)

• Exploitation


At the centre of all abusive behaviours is the exploitation of another.

The main characteristic of exploitation is breaking another person’s trust.
It also involves taking advantage of another person’s:

  • Finances
  • Vulnerability
  • Age
  • Sexuality
  • Disability
  • Situation

Situational factors can make a person vulnerable to or at greater risk of being exploited. Social isolation, immigration status, homelessness, possible engagement in illegal activity or substance dependence can all increase the chances of exploitation.

Commonly reported behaviours include:

  • Misusing the trust of another for the purpose of dominating or overpowering
  • Deliberately underpaying or using vulnerable people such as children, adolescents and illegal immigrants for labour
  • Using children and vulnerable adults for the purpose of making pornographic material
  • Using children and vulnerable adults for the purpose of financial gain.

Definition: The motivated use of criminal non-physical contact behaviours against another that result in the misuse of another’s trust, vulnerability, finances, age, sexuality, disability or social situation (Hempenstall, in press)

• Harassment


Definition:The motivated and persistent use of criminal non-physical contact behaviours that result in the attempted emotional domination over another. Non-contact behaviours can include the attempts to torment, provoke and distress another. This may further involve attempted defamation of character and bribery all of which may induce pressure, frighten or intimidate another. (Hempenstall, in press)

Harassment is a pattern of continued and intentional intrusions into the private life of another. Harassing behaviours are often carefully planned and designed to provoke, intimidate or distress another.

This illegal behaviour can be committed by someone known to the targeted person, a stranger or acquaintance. The harasser can be a single individual or a group of people.

Commonly reported behaviours:

  • Repeated attempts to belittle and ridicule through the use of gossip, verbal or behavioural intimidation
  • Use of car or other vehicle to provoke, irritate or intimidate
  • Public attempts to ruin the reputation of or defame the character of the target(s)
  • The repeated and unwanted contact through telephone calls, email or social networking sites.
  • Intentionally and obviously being present at the residence, place of work or other locations typically occupied by the individual.
  • The use of intimidating behaviours to instil fear or distress

Harassment can often be obvious to others and may include:

  • Public ridicule,
  • Verbal or emotional bullying
  • Attempted provocation or domination
  • Attempted touching without consent

Harassment can cause distress and may affect employment, living arrangements as well as the communication or relationships with others.

An important and dangerous characteristic of harassment involves false accusations or counter claims. The perpetrators of harassment often lie about the behaviour of the targeted individual in an attempt to deflect attention away from their own illegal behaviour. This is typically achieved through making false accusations against the individual.

Other behaviours include:

  • Making false counter claims of harassment against the targeted individual
  • Making false police reports
  • Telling lies about or attempting to destroy the reputation of the targeted individual
  • Spreading untrue rumours about the targeted individual's behaviour, mental health or activities

Deciding on who is telling the truth can be dependent upon individual police officers who become involved at a later stage. It is important that when harassment of any kind begins that a detailed record of the behaviours and who is involved is kept. If possible, seek legal advice or inform local police officers early.

Additional information

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is typically viewed as a female only experience. However, sexual harassment can be experienced as well as committed by male and female adults or adolescents. Typical behaviours can include:

  • Being treated “differently” because of your gender or sexuality
  • Unwelcome attempts to draw into discussion of a sexual nature
  • Unwanted rubbing against or touching in a sexual manner
  • Attempted bribery or promised rewards in exchange for sexual contact
  • Treated badly or unfairly for not engaging in sexual intercourse


Online Harassment

The internet and social networking sites is another medium through which people can harass others. There is a distinct difference between continually receiving spam or unsolicited emails and deliberate harassment. Harassment occurs even after requests to cease contact are made. Unwanted communication does not have to be threatening but will by its content or regularity become distressing.

Commonly reported on-line harassment behaviours include:

  • Leaving unpleasant or hateful messages
  • Continued unwanted communication with inappropriate content
  • Hurtful and untrue comments posted for the purpose of defaming character
  • Attempted communication off-line


• Stalking


Definition:The motivated and persistent use of non-physical contact criminal behaviours that result in disruptions and interferences in personal privacy. Non-contact behaviours include; the covert and observable following, monitoring or watching of another. This may further involve the unwanted furnishing of gifts and actual or attempted communication against the will of another (Hempenstall, in press)

The terms "stalking" and "harassment" are commonly used to describe the same type of criminal conduct. While some harassing behaviours can be used by stalkers, stalking has its own unique characteristics.

Stalking is typically predatory. The stalker usually acts alone and all attention is focused on one primary individual. Stalking is often less obvious than harassment and the perpetrator more difficult to apprehend. 

Stalking involves repetitive behaviour that can last for a few months or a number of years.

Stalkers can be male or female. A stalker can be a stranger, acquaintance, relative as well as a current or former intimate partner.

Commonly reported stalking behaviours include:

  • Physically following a targeted person, waiting around their home or place of work
  • Monitoring or watching the targeted persons movements, behaviours and whereabouts
  • Learning as well as acting on facts about a targeted persons typical movements and personal details
  • Taking photos or video footage of the target
  • Trespassing on property
  • Unwanted or attempted contact with the target
  • Threats to harm

Experiencing stalking can be extremely distressing and frustrating. Many stalkers will have good excuses for being in and around the vicinity of the targeted persons home or place of work. In this way stalking behaviours can appear to be harmless or even part of the perpetrators daily routine.

While some cases of stalking can involve threats to harm or even kill, most cases do not escalate into violent behaviour. However, the history or type of relationship between a stalker and the targeted individual is important. These factors can influence the stalkers behaviour as well as the outcome.

The motivations underlying stalking behaviour vary widely.

Commonly reported motivations include:

  • Revenge
  • Obsession
  • Rejection
  • Asserting power
  • Continuation of controlling behaviour following the breakdown of an abusive relationship  

Contact details of support services for people experiencing stalking can be found by clicking on the link below. Please note that the National Stalking Helpline is now operating a forum to facilitate peer support for victims and survivors of stalking. The forum can be accessed via their website. http://www.vapa.ie/supportservices.html#stalking

Additional information


Cyberstalking refers to the use of the internet and email to stalk another.

Stalking may begin on-line through innocent communication on forums or social networking sites. This may later develop into more proximal (physically close) stalking. However, it is possible that this is the only medium through which the stalker monitors the activity of a targeted person.

A stalker may be in a different country to the targeted individual and pose no immediate physical threat. This form of stalking can be extremely distressing and the behaviours intrusive. Typical behaviours include using the targeted persons email and identity to send false messages. It can further involve online harassing behaviours such as posting unpleasant messages or details about the targeted individual. 

Computer-based communication is also increasingly used by "close proximity" stalkers. The internet is employed as an additional way to keep track of the movements and gain personal information on the targeted individual.

Commonly reported cyberstalking behaviours include:

  • Monitoring social networking sites and social interactions
  • Monitoring emails 
  • Sending unsolicited emails or virus program   

For further information on cyberstalking please see the support services page here: http://www.vapa.ie/supportservices.html#stalking 


• Destruction or Stealing of Property

Destruction or Stealing of Property

The destruction or stealing of property is often overlooked as a serious form of abusive behaviour. Damaging property or theft of personal belongings may be once-off or rare events. However, it may be the primary form of abuse being experienced or part of a broader set of behaviours such as harassment or more general intimate abuse.

This repeated behaviour is often deliberate and is directed towards one or more specific individuals.

Motivation for this form of abuse can include attempted control or domination as well as to instil fear and intimidate. Commonly occurring within the community, perpetrators can also be male or female intimate partners, family members or acquaintances.

Commonly reported behaviours include:

  • Setting fire to or using objects to destroy property such as family home or vehicle
  • Destroying, tearing up or burning the personal diary of a targeted individual, particularly if the diary includes details of experienced abuse.
  • Deliberately damaging or breaking any personal items including jewellery, household utensils or clothing
  • Stealing personal items for the purpose or re-sale or to make a profit for personal gain
  • Threatening to destroy personal belongings or property of another for the purpose of intimidation or to cause fear

• Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP)

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) also known as Fabricated or Induced Illness, most commonly involves the caregiver of a dependent person deliberately and repeatedly; making up, exaggerating, inducing or creating symptoms in a dependent other.

These symptoms may be physical, psychological or behavioural. For example, the perpetrator may repeatedly create or fake the symptoms of an illness in their own child.

MSBP is often classified as physical abuse. However, MSBP is a dangerous form of maltreatment with unique and complex characteristics.

MSBP can involve elements of neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

In similarity to other forms of abuse, MSBP involves repetitive and deliberate behaviour. It is also characterized by detailed and advanced planning.

The majority of perpetrators are the primary caregivers and most often a biological parent. Perpetrators usually make a determined effort to present themselves as diligent and concerned caregivers.

There can be difficulty in detecting MSBP. It may co-exist with actual behavioural, physical or psychological issues in a dependent other.

Commonly reported behaviours include:

  • Starvation or depriving a dependent other of needed water and nutrition
  • Poisoning or secret administration of harmful substances
  • Convincing a dependent other that they have an illness
  • Convincing a dependent other that they have been abused by someone else
  • Repeated physical and psychological harm through unnecessary intrusive physical examinations, surgeries or psychological assessments
  • “doctor shopping” or the consultation with an excessive number of doctors
  • Attempted suffocation or restriction of airway to produce seizures
  • Deliberately acting to worsen or prevent the improvement of an existing illness / disability

• Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse

The term Domestic Abuse or Intimate Abuse refers to the repeated use of numerous violent, aggressive and dominating tactics against an intimate partner.

While most commonly referred to as "domestic violence", the use of the word abuse represents a variety of aggressive acts that are not simply physical in nature.

It is typically assumed that domestic abuse primarily involves physical assault. However, abuse in intimate relationships involves a number of different contact and non-contact acts.

Abusive behaviours in this context usually co-occur and there may be one dominating abusive behaviour utilized. For instance, psychological abuse may be the main form of abuse in the relationship and this will typically occur before, during as well as after other forms of abuse such as physical violence or harassment.

Commonly reported behaviours include;

  • Social isolation
  • Sexual violence or abuse
  • Restricted access to finances
  • Deprivation
  • Neglect
  • Stalking
  • Harassment
  • Exploitation
  • The destruction or stealing of property.

Domestic abuse involves a pattern of behaviours which overtime has a severe impact on the targeted individual.

This pattern of abusive behaviour can be directed at any one person and can affect men as well as women.

Abuse between intimate partners can have both a direct and indirect effect on children and other individuals in the environment.

Domestic abuse does not simply occur between married couples. It is also found in homosexual relationships, those co-habiting, dating relationships and abusive behaviour can be used by current as well as former partners.

Contact details of support services for people experiencing domestic abuse can be found here:http://www.vapa.ie/supportservices.html#domestic

Definition of domestic abuse: The motivated and persistent use of criminal and non-criminal contact and non-contact behaviours against an intimate partner. An intimate partner includes cohabiting, dating, married and former partners. Contact and non-contact offences involve physical, emotional and sexual assault including isolation, deprivation, neglect, harassment, stalking, exploitation and the destruction or stealing of property.
(Hempenstall, in press)

• Familial Abuse

Familial Abuse

Familial abuse involves the repeated physical, sexual or emotional abuse of a sibling, child, parent or elder.

Family members include those that may be connected through blood, marriage or living arrangement.

Family abuse can further include:

  • Neglect,
  • Deprivation and
  • Exploitation.

Familial abuse may involve more than one abuser. The abuser can be a male or female adult, child and adolescent.

Abuse can be perpetrated against one or more family members and the targeted individual may experience more than one form of abuse at any given time.

Offenders may purposefully introduce or expose a targeted family member to other abusers outside of the family unit.

Contact details of appropriate support services for people who have or are currently experiencing family abuse can be found here: http://www.vapa.ie/supportservices.html

Definition of familial abuse:  The motivated and persistent use of criminal and non-criminal, contact and non-contact behaviours against one or more familial members. Familial members include children, siblings, elders or adults who may be related through blood, marriage or living arrangement. Contact and non-contact offences can involve: physical, emotional and sexual assault including isolation, deprivation, neglect, harassment, stalking, exploitation and the destruction or stealing of property
(Hempenstall, in press)

• Community Violence & Abuse

Community Violence & Abuse

Violence or antisocial activity occurs in all communities and across all socioeconomic levels. Community violence refers to various types of interpersonal violence or antisocial activity committed within a specific district or neighbourhood.

Perpetrators may be complete strangers, acquaintances, neighbours, authority figures and gang members. Perpetrators and targets of community violence can be male or female adults, adolescents or children.

Individuals within the community can be directly victimized through:

  • Burglary or theft of personal property
  • Car theft or car-jacking
  • Mugging or physical assault
  • Sexual assault or molestation
  • Destruction of property
  • Kidnapping / attempted kidnapping
  • Arson (fire setting)
  • Vandalism
  • Homicide or attempted murder

Non-contact criminal acts such as threatening, abusive, intimidating or harassing behaviours may also be commonplace and co-occur with other forms of violence.

Directly experiencing violence in the community can have a serious effect on feelings related to personal safety and the protection of family members. Repeatedly experiencing criminal activity can have a negative impact on health and psychological well-being.

People can also be indirectly affected by antisocial activity in the community. The exposure to illegal activity can be distressing. The repeated exposure to criminal behaviour can have serious long-term consequences.

Commonly reported criminal activities that people are exposed to in their communities include:

  • Drug dealing or substance abuse
  • Witnessing violent and threatening behaviour
  • Hearing gun fire
  • Witnessing murder
  • Joyriding
  • Arson (fire setting)
Contact details of services for people experiencing community violence or abuse can be found here: http://www.vapa.ie/supportservices.html#communityviolence