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What is Abuse?

There are many different types of abuse and they all relate to behaviour towards a person that causes harm – whether deliberately or unintentionally. It is a violation of an individual's human and civil rights and leads to harm for individuals that can last a lifetime. In the worst cases, abuse can result in mental illness and even death.

Many callers to Shema Koli are unsure if they have been abused.

A frequent question we are asked is “is this abuse?” or “am I being abused?”

Abusing another person is halachically forbidden and goes against the core principles of the Jewish religion. The Talmud is replete with protection for victims and cautions against those people who commit acts of abuse.

Cases of abuse can result in criminal prosecutions and action being taken in the courts.

Examples of abuse

  • Emotional or Psychological abuse

    May include intimidation e.g. threats of physical harm to the victim or relatives…

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  • Sexual Abuse

    Includes sexual assault, unwanted sexual acts, rape, sexual acts with…

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  • Physical abuse

    May include hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, pinching or scratching.

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  • Professional abuse

    The misuse of power and abuse of trust by professionals...

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  • Domestic abuse

    The use of power to control or intimidate a partner or family member.

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  • Mental Health Issues

    There is strong evidence of the link between abuse and mental illness.

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How does abuse affect people?

Victims of abuse may suffer severe neglect, trauma, injury, distress and depression. Mental health issues are often attributed to or aggravated by experience of abuse. People without capacity, e.g. people with dementia or learning disabilities, are particularly vulnerable.

Abuse can affect people’s relationships and often contributes to problems with sexual intimacy, parenting and marriage.