Hamilton 24hr Crisis Lines:
• Inasmuch House 905-529-8600 • Fem-aide 1-877-336-2433 • Good Shepherd 905-523-6277 • SACHA 905-525-4162 •
• Native Women's Centre 1-888-308-6559 • COAST (mental health) 905-972-8338 • Hamilton Interval House 905-387-8881 •

Behavioural Checklist

Am I being abused?

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse includes unwanted physical contact, which may or may not cause an injury. Physical abuse can be directed at you, your children, household pets or others. Has your partner ever:

_____ pushed, shoved or kicked you

_____ held you down to keep you from leaving

_____ slapped, hit or punched you

_____ bit, stabbed, burned or choked you

_____ thrown objects at you

_____ locked you out of the house

_____ abandoned you in dangerous places

_____ refused to help when you were sick, injured or pregnant

_____ tried to hit or force you off the road with a car

_____ threatened or hurt you with a weapon

Sexual Abuse

Degrading treatment based on your sex or sexual orientation; using force or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts. Has your partner ever:

_____ made jokes or crude remarks about you or other women

_____ treated women as sex objects

_____ jealousy; accusing you of affairs

_____ forced you to dress a particular way

_____ put down your feelings about sex

_____ criticized you sexually

_____ insisted on sexual contact or touching

_____ withheld sex and affection

_____ called you sexual names, like “whore” or “frigid”

_____ forced you to strip

_____ shown sexual interest in others

_____ had affairs with others while agreeing to monogamy

_____ demands monogamy from you, while insisting on freedom for self

_____ forced sex with him/her or others

_____ forced sex after beating or threatening beating

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is mistreating and controlling another person. The emotional abuser makes their partner feel afraid, helpless and/or worthless. Has or does your partner ever:

_____ ignored your feelings

_____ ridiculed or insulted your valued beliefs, religion, race etc.

_____ withhold appreciation, approval or affection as punishment

_____ continually criticize, calling you names or shouting at you

_____ insult or drive away friends/family

_____ humiliate you in public or private

_____ lied or withheld important information

_____ always checks up on you

_____ treat you like a child or servant

_____ threaten to leave you continually

_____ abused pets to hurt or scare you

_____ made you feel worthless, never good enough

_____ dislike your friends/family or how you do just about anything

Intimidation and Threats

The primary function of intimidation and threats is to instill fear and insure compliance. Has or does your partner:

_____ put you in fear through looks, gestures or actions

_____ smashed things

_____ destroyed things of value to you

_____ injured or killed pets to frighten you

_____ threatened to hurt/kill someone you love

_____ displayed weapons in a threatening way

_____ cleaned weapons immediately after or during a threatening argument

_____ threatened to leave you or commit suicide

_____ made you commit illegal acts

_____ threatened to report illegal acts or report you to welfare or child abuse investigators

_____ said he’ll/she’ll never let you leave him


Isolation can be devastating. It prevents battered women from accessing support or resources. In addition, batterers through abusive tactics will turn family and friends against their partner. Has your partner ever:

_____ started fights whenever you want to go out or spend time with friends

_____ put your family/friends down

_____ made you feel guilty when you spend time away from him/her

_____ although it is not said directly, you always feel like you must ask before going out

_____ refused to care for the children as you are preparing to leave

_____ made you account for every   moment of the time you are gone — who you are with, where you went, who you saw, what you did, etc.

_____ made you late for work so many times, you lose your job

_____ accused you of having affairs

_____ monitors your use of the car

_____ taken the phone or car keys when he/she leaves

_____ locked you in a room when he/she leaves

Using the Children

Threatening or hurting someone we love is a tactic to insure compliance. Batterers know that many victims are willing to suffer much to protect their loved ones. Has or does your partner:

_____ threaten to kidnap or kill the children

_____ punished or deprive the children when mad at you

_____ call you a bad parent

_____ use visitation to harass you

_____ tell the children “I’m going to jail because Mommy is mad at me”

_____ refuse to participate in the care of the children

_____ use the children to make you feel guilty

_____ threaten to sexually abuse the children if you won’t have sex

Economic Abuse

Controlling a battered woman’s access to financial resources can directly affect her ability to be independent of the batterer. Has or does your partner:

_____ control access to household money, you don’t know how much or where it is

_____ make all the financial decisions

_____ if you are responsible for the household budget you have to account for every dime and are punished if there isn’t “enough”

_____ take your paycheck or sell your belongings to get extra money

_____ prevent you from getting or keeping a job

Minimization, Denial and Blame

Minimization, denial and blame undermines the credibility and reality of battered women. By making light of, denying responsibility for, or blaming the victim for their actions, the batterer creates an environment in which the victims feelings, thoughts or needs are ignored and devalued. Has or does your partner:

_____ say he/she wouldn’t hit you if you hadn’t made him/her angry

_____ say the abuse never happened or that it was no big deal

_____ say you deserve it

Control through Over-protection and “Caring”

Some batterers will use concepts like caring for or protecting as a means to control another. The emphasis here is on the intention of the action - will there be consequences if you don’t go along with his “kindness”

_____ he/she doesn’t like it if you are away from home, he/she worries and wants to know where you are all the time

_____ he/she phones or unexpectedly shows up where you work to see if you’re “ok”

_____ he/she shops or runs errands so you don’t have to go out

_____ he/she drives you to and from places so no one will get “ideas”

Using Societal Privilege

In our society, many of us carry value based on our status. Some examples include being male, wealthy, heterosexual or white-skinned. Has your male partner ever:

_____ treated you like a servant

_____ made all the “big” decisions, telling you what to do

_____ acted like the "master of the castle" using that to justify abusive behaviors

Has your female partner ever:

_____ used heterosexism or homophobia to put you in fear

_____ threatened to “out” you to family or coworkers

_____ say you aren’t a “real” lesbian

_____ threatened to tell your children or former male partner that you are in a relationship with a woman

Adapted from materials written by Ginny NiCarthy .