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What is intimate partner abuse?

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Intimate partner abuse is the abuse of power by one person in a relationship over the other person. Often the partner who is abused ends up feeling afraid of the other person.

In heterosexual relationships, the abuser is usually the man, so intimate partner abuse is often called woman abuse. Sometimes the abuse continues after the couple is separated.

When someone is being subjected to abuse, it often changes the way they view themselves, others and the world around them.

Abuse is a cycle that can be broken. The first step is to identify the types of abuse that are happening.

There are lots of different forms of abuse. Sometimes abuse is physical or sexual, like kicking or choking or rape. Sometimes abuse is emotional or psychological, like telling a woman she is ugly, or being cold or threatening, or being nice one day and very cruel the next.

The abusive person might try to isolate a woman from her friends and family, or interfere with her job, or tell the children she is a bad mother. They might use technology or other people to monitor where the woman is and what she is up to.

Use our abuse checklist to think about the forms of abuse you’ve been subjected to.

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