Spousal Abuse

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"Spousal abuse" refers to the violence or mistreatment that a woman or a man may experience at the hands of a marital, common-law or same-sex partner. Spousal abuse may happen at any time during a relationship, including while it is breaking down, or after it has ended.

There are many different forms of spousal abuse, and a person may be subjected to more than one form.

Physical abuse may consist of just one incident or it may happen repeatedly. It includes using physical force in a way that injures someone - or puts them at risk of being injured- including beating, hitting, shaking, pushing, choking, biting, burning, kicking, or assaulting with a weapon.1 Other forms of physical abuse may include, for example, rough handling, confinement, or any dangerous or harmful use of force or restraint.

Sexual abuse and exploitation includes all forms of sexual assault, sexual harassment or sexual exploitation.2 Forcing someone to participate in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity, or using ridicule or other tactics to try to denigrate, control or limit their sexuality or reproductive choices is sexual abuse.

Emotional abuse includes verbal attacks, such as yelling, screaming and name-calling. Using criticism, verbal threats, social isolation, intimidation or exploitation to dominate another person are other forms of emotional abuse. Criminal harassment or "stalking" may include threatening a person or their loved ones, damaging their possessions, or harming their pets.3

Economic or financial abuse includes stealing from or defrauding a partner.4 Withholding money that is necessary to buy food or medical treatment,5 manipulating or exploiting a person for financial gain, denying them access to financial resources, or preventing them from working (or controlling their choice of occupation) are also forms of economic abuse.

Spiritual abuse includes using a person's religious or spiritual beliefs to manipulate, dominate or control them. It...
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