As with any sensitive subject, there are always terms and phrases that we don’t know or need to know.

As such, in order to help you we have compiled a list of terms, to help you navigate your way through the subject…


Any action that intentionally harms or injures another person. In short, someone who purposely harms another in any way is committing abuse.


A person who treats another person cruelly.

Child Abuse

Child abuse is any action by another person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child.

It can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can just as often be about a lack of love, care and attention. It often happens over a period of time, rather than being a one-off event.

Domestic Abuse

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

The abuse can encompass but is not limited to, a combination of psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.

This definition also includes so-called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage.

It does not matter whether the perpetrator shares the same residence as the victim(s), whether they are related, or whether they are currently or formerly married, separated or divorced.

Children can be victims of domestic violence even as witnesses to violence against someone else in the household.    

Economic Abuse

Often used interchangeably with Financial Abuse.

Emotional Abuse

Abuse that is characterised by subjecting another person to psychological trauma, including anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It may involve, bullying, gas-lighting or other methods of creating a power imbalance. Can also be referred to as psychological abuse.

FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)

The ritual cutting of a female’s genitals in what is sometimes considered “female circumcision”.

This practice is illegal in the United Kingdom and is classified as abuse by the United Nations and most western countries.

Financial Abuse

Exerting control over a person by controlling their finances, removing any independence or autonomy and creating financial reliance.

May also involve controlling future earning potential by preventing the person from getting a job or education.

Physical Abuse

The use of physical force to intentionally harm another person.

Psychological Abuse

See Emotional Abuse.


Sexual penetration carried out against another person without enthusiastic consent.

The act may be committed by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or on a person who is not able to consent, as when incapacitated, unconscious, below the age of consent, or has an intellectual disability.

Sexual Abuse

Undesired sexual behaviour by one person to another.

This is often carried out by force or be taking advantage of the other person.

This term is generally used when the sexual behaviour is regular or over a prolonged period of time.

Sexual Assault

Any unwanted sexual behaviour that a person has not consented to.

This can range from rape to voyeurism or exhibitionism, to unwanted touching above or under clothes.

Sexual Violence

Similar in nature to Sexual Abuse, but this term is more often used to describe brief or single incidences, such as if sexually assaulted by a stranger.


A person who carries on in the face of adversity, surviving in spite of trauma. Can be used interchangeably with victim.


A person who has been subject to harm. Can be used interchangeably with survivor.

Obviously, this list is just a sample of glossary terms we’ve come across.

If you would like us to add additional glossary terms on teh subject, please Contact Us…