Inside Hubbard House

Types of Abuse

Sometimes people are not sure if what they are experiencing, or is someone they know is experiencing domestic violence. They know the relationship is not what they expected or wanted but is it abusive? Is what they are experiencing against the law? Domestic violence as defined by law focuses on violent acts, but we realize domestic violence can be much more than those acts that can lead to arrest. It involves a pattern of controlling and abusive behaviors that can leave a person feeling bad about them self and that can undermine their sense of who they are and what they are capable of accomplishing.

To know if you or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship you can ask a simple question: Does this relationship make me feel bad about myself? If the answer is yes, you need to learn more about healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Four Main Types of Abuse

There are four main types of abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and economic abuse.

If you are in a physically abusive relationship you may experience:

  • Slapping, hitting or punching
  • Choking
  • Kicking
  • Shoving or shaking
  • Spitting
  • someone throwing objects at you
  • or restraining you physically.


Emotional abuse is harder to identify but some of the common things we see are:

  • name calling and insults
  • verbal attacks
  • humiliating you
  • destroying your things
  • harming or threatening to harm your pets
  • making you feel guilty and responsible for the abuse
  • causing you to feel bad about yourself
  • playing mind games
  • and extreme jealousy

Sexual Abuse is the third type of abuse and can consist of:

  • someone forcing you to engage in sexual acts that make you uncomfortable or that are overly aggressive or violent
  • coercing you to have sex through manipulation or threats
  • forcing you to watch pornography or other sexual acts
  • denying you contraception or protection
  • or sending you harassing e-mails or other communication containing sexual content.

You have the right to decide what is done to your body, even when you are in a relationship!

The fourth type of abuse, economic abuse, is often used as a way to limit someone’s options and keep them in an unhealthy relationship. If you do not know what it takes to support yourself and your children or you have never worked outside the home, it is scary to think of leaving. Economic abuse can be:

  • not allowing you to work
  • isolating you by limiting your access to money
  • controlling financial decisions without your consent
  • or forcing you to use money for their needs while neglecting your needs and the needs of your family

If any of this sounds familiar, Hubbard House can help. Hubbard House has free services for victims and their children and programs for abusers.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you need someone to talk to and want to know how what services are available, call the Hubbard House 24-hour hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119.


Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 6,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit to learn more.