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Sexual assault and other forms of abuse

Sexual assault is defined as any sexual act that a person did not consent to, or is forced into against their will and which they did not agree to it. It is a form of sexual violence.

Other types of abuse can include physical, domestic, psychological, emotional, economic and financial abuse.

Physical violence/abuse is the intentional act of causing injury or trauma to another person through physical contact. Examples include hitting, kicking, throwing objects at a person or using another type of physical force. Children are most commonly the victims of physical abuse, but adults are to; most commonly in domestic violence cases.

Refuge ( defines domestic abuse “as a pattern of behaviour on the part of the abuser designed to control their partner. It can happen at any point in a relationship, including after you have split up.”

A person being forced to change their behaviour is also experiencing abuse. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and it’s never the fault of the person who is experiencing it.

Emotional and psychological abuse is abuse of another person by using emotions to criticise, shame, embarrass or manipulate another person. Examples can include abusive language, name-calling and threats. This type of abuse is used to bring down a persons’ self-esteem and mental health. An abuser can also blame the victim for the abuse.

Financial abuse is the controlling of access to money and resources. This can include the taking of wages, stopping the victim from working altogether or getting the victim into debt meaning the victim doesn’t have the capacity to support themselves and becomes dependent on the perpetrator financially.

There is help and support available for someone experiencing any type of abuse and a victim doesn’t need to wait for an emergency situation to seek help. The NHS also provides a list of signs of abuse (

Support services:

women can call The Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge on 0808 2000 247 for free at any time, day or night. The staff will offer confidential, non-judgemental information and support

talk to a doctor, health visitor or midwife

men can call Men's Advice Line on 0808 8010 327 (Monday and Wednesday, 9am to 8pm, and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9am to 5pm) for non-judgemental information and support

If you identify as LGBT+ you can call Galop on 0800 999 5428 for emotional and practical support

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