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Typology of domestic violence

Before we move on to the case, let’s have a look on the different types of domestic violence.

The World Health Organisation distinguishes between four main types of domestic violence:

  1. Physical violence - such as slapping, beating or kicking
  2. Sexual violence - such as rape or other forms of sexual abuse
  3. Psychological or emotional violence - such as threats, humiliation, stalking, or controlling behaviours
  4. Deprivation or neglect - such as ignoring and lack of care

This distinction is important, as we easily think about physical violence, but forget the other types. And it means also, that many more patients are affected by domestic violence than what we can see.

Although domestic violence can affect everyone, women are exposed to it more often. They also suffer the most serious forms of domestic violence. The perpetrator of domestic violence against adults is most often a current or former intimate partner.

The figure shows a typology of domestic violence depending on the nature of the violence and the relationship to the perpetrator.

The figure here presents a typology of interpersonal violence. Domestic violence is the most hidden and taboo category of interpersonal violence. It includes violence against children, intimate partners, elderly people, siblings, or near acquaintances. We can therefore consider domestic violence to include everything within the orange box - that’s quite a large category!

Reflection points

  1. Name an example for each type of domestic violence you have observed (or heard of).
  2. Why does it matter if the person exposed to violence is in close relationship to the perpetrator?

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Medical Peace Work

University of Bergen

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