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Physical abuse

  • Physical abuse happens when someone deliberately hurts your body
  • It can also happen when someone takes away your control of your body
  • Physical abuse can be a form of domestic and family violence
  • Nothing you say or do makes it OK for someone to hurt you
  • If you or someone you know is experiencing physical abuse, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or through online chat

What is physical abuse?

Physical abuse happens when someone deliberately hurts your body or takes away your control of your body. It can also be referred to as physical violence.

Physical abuse can be things like hitting, slapping or kicking, but it’s important to know that:

  • Physical abuse can be anything that causes pain to any part of your body
  • Someone can be physically abusive even if they aren't using their body or a weapon to hurt you. Some examples of this are: 
    • Tying, locking you up, or restraining you in any way
    • Giving you medicine or drugs to stop you from moving or thinking clearly
    • Giving you medicine, drugs or food to make you unwell
    • Forcing you to drink alcohol or take drugs
    • Stopping you from taking medicine you need to feel well
    • Leaving you naked or exposed when caring for you
    • Destroying or moving equipment you may need, such as a wheelchair
  • You don’t have to have bruises, scratches or marks on your body for it to be physical abuse
  • Someone saying they will physically hurt you is also abuse. This is true even if the person never does what they say they will

Physical abuse can be a form of domestic or family violence. If you or someone you know is experiencing physical violence it is OK to ask for help.

Who is responsible for physical abuse?

Physical abuse can happen in any type of relationship, including with:

  • Boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, husbands or wives
  • Ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-partners, ex-husbands or ex-wives
  • Carers or paid support workers
  • Parents, guardians or other family members
  • Adult children
  • Other people you live with or see often, whether inside or outside the home

It is common for people who are violent to say, 'I never meant to hurt you' or 'You made me do it'. It’s important to know that it is never your fault. Nothing you say or do makes it OK for someone to hurt you.