Education Wife Assault (Ontario, Canada) is a comprehensive website with information and resources to educate about abuse including ways to respond to abuse and resources on how to seek help. It also includes advice and help for victims who are disabled or deaf. The Assessment Guide is very easy to read, and easy to understand guide for anyone who suspects a friend or family member is being abused. This article will focus only on the “Emotional Abuse Assessment Guide” found here:

Assessment Guide

Emotional Abuse consists of behaviors that are threatening, intimidating, controlling and/or harmful and designed to take control of another person. Emotional abuse creates constant torment that may result in psychological as well as physical injury due to the stress, fear and anxiety inflicted on the victim; often perpetrators of emotional abuse escalate to other forms of abuse, including physical abuse. Education Wife Assault reports that: Emotional abuse is the greatest predictor of physical violence. Therefore, any woman who has been emotionally abused is also at risk of murder or suicide.

Victims of emotional abuse often change their thoughts, behaviors, feelings–even depriving themselves of their own needs–to avoid further abuse. Children who are emotionally abused are known to suffer from failure to thrive, and to develop behavioral problems including attachment disorders.

The Assessment Guide describes tactics used in emotional abuse, it is helpful to consider whether the acts are ongoing and repeated events or isolated events. However, if the acts are isolated, you may want to take that as a warning that something is wrong or needs to be changed. The Assessment Guide describes tactics of emotional abuse that include verbal abuse, isolation, threats, intimidation, sexual abuse, financial abuse and neglect.

The second part of the Assessment Guide discusses the impact of emotional abuse, and how to identify a woman who has been emotionally abused,” One constant for women who are abused is fear. In addition to the indicators listed below, there are two key questions used to assess if a woman is being emotionally abused: Does the woman indicate that she is fearful of negative reprisals from her partner if she does not do what he wants? Does the woman alter her behaviour, preferences or choices as a result of this fear?”

The last part of the Assessment Guide offers helpful suggestions on how to respond to emotional abuse, as well as discussing what is not helpful (many of the tactics that were not helpful, themselves, were forms of emotional abuse). The most important piece of advice offered is to take the victim seriously.