Type of violence Features and examples

Violence is all behavior and situations that threaten the physical, psychological or moral integrity of people.

Behaviors associated with the use of violence can be learned, imitated or deliberate, and can be committed against an individual or group of people.

What is violence?

For the World Health Organization, violence involves the use of physical force not only against others, but against oneself, and can have consequences such as trauma, psychological harm or death.

Although there is no single consensus to classify the types of violence that exist, it is possible to make general classifications based on the author of the aggression, the nature of the violent act and the scope what is carried out

Type of violence according to the aggressor

There are three types of violence according to the perpetrator:

Self-inflicted violence

They are behaviors or acts that an individual carries out against himself, with the intention of causing physical, psychological damage and even death.

In self-inflicted violence, various triggering factors may be present, such as emotional disturbances, trauma, depression, or the individual may be a victim of other types of violence that induce this behavior.

Self-harm or suicide are examples of self-inflicted violence.

Interpersonal violence

This type of violence is characterized by the fact that it is a harm or threat that is carried out by one person to another, or to a group of people.

The causes of this type of violence can be multiple, but they are generally associated with social factors such as poverty or the absence of structures and institutions that allow the development of the individual’s potential (access to food, health, at work, etc.) .).

Assaults are the most common example of interpersonal violence.

Collective violence

In this case, it is the aggression caused by one group towards another. These behaviors can be induced by political, religious or cultural factors, as well as by social inequalities that cause a majority group to exercise violence against minorities.

Tribal conflicts in some areas of Africa or attacks motivated by xenophobia (rejection of foreigners) are expressions of collective violence.

Type of violence according to type of aggression

Violence can be classified according to the nature or type of damage it generates:

physical violence

They are all violent actions executed in order to cause harm to another person’s body.

Physical violence can have different levels, and can range from barely visible actions (a scratch), to more forceful assaults (hits, bloody wounds) and even death.

Pushing, kicking, choking attempts, slapping or pulling another person’s hair are examples of physical violence.

Psychological violence

They are all those behaviors carried out to harm the psyche of the individual. This type of violence is not always visible, and many victims may even be unaware that they are experiencing it.

An example of psychological violence is deliberately ignoring someone who needs attention, as well as isolating them from family or friends. It is a type of behavior closely associated with domestic violence.

Verbal violence

Verbal violence uses messages that are intended to cause discomfort to the affected person.

Although insults fall into this category, they are not always used to exercise this type of violence.

An example could be when a couple is arguing, and one of the two says something that, without necessarily being insulting or rude, is hurting the other person because their message is hurtful or deliberately hurtful.

sexual violence

These are behaviors that violate the sexual integrity of another person, and involve the execution of acts or behaviors without consent.

Rape is a clear example of sexual violence that also involves psychological and physical violence. Street harassment or intimidation are also forms of violence.

See also Difference between harassment, assault and sexual abuse.


It is the type of violence that is characterized by omitting actions that can generate well-being in another person or group.

An example of negligence happens when the law enforcement authorities do not act quickly in a case of rape, or when a doctor omits to carry out certain tests that could determine the suffering of a disease.

Type of violence according to the scope of action

Violence can also be exercised in different areas. In this case, it is classified as:

Political violence

Political violence is any act carried out by the legitimate power (the State) or its institutions to attack citizens.

This type of violence can be expressed through repressive actions, arbitrary arrests or enforced disappearances.

Economic violence

It is the violation of the right of other people to use their money or their property. Although it can be exercised in various ways (from an employer to his employees, for example) it is very common for it to happen in violent couple relationships, in which one of the members prevents the other person from having access to their money, objects personal, documents (credit cards, passport, etc.)

Religious violence

It involves the use of power to attack a minority group that does not share the same beliefs as the majority religious group.

However, religious violence can also occur when a group of people belonging to a particular belief is manipulated into giving up some of their rights in the name of the religious institution.

Forcing members of a religious community to give money, property or personal data is a way of exercising religious violence.

Cultural violence

In this case, violent acts against a person or group are regulated by the cultural context, which means that they are perceived as natural or common events.

In many families, child abuse is still perceived as a way to correct behaviors that are considered inappropriate. Ablation (the removal of the clitoris) remains a common practice in many underdeveloped societies, although this act involves physical, sexual and psychological violence.

Workplace violence

It is any act or violent behavior that is carried out in the workplace, regardless of the hierarchy of the person who executes or is the victim of the action.

Shouting, insults, threats of dismissal, harassment or teasing are just a few examples of workplace violence.


It is the attack on a person or groups of people through the use of digital channels (social networks, email, instant messaging, etc.).

Some examples of cyberbullying are disclosing another person’s private information without your consent, subjecting yourself to public ridicule via social media, etc.

See also:

Family or domestic violence

It is any kind of violent act that occurs within the family nucleus. This can include various types of violence, such as physical, psychological, economic or sexual violence, and can occur between several family members (parents and children, partners, etc.)

Gender violence

Gender-based violence is any act that violates the rights and integrity of a person or group of people based on their sex, gender, sexual orientation or identity. This can include other types of violence and express itself in different areas.

With this, it is understood that gender violence can be manifested through physical, psychological, verbal, sexual acts, and it can happen anywhere.

However, although any individual can be a victim of gender-based violence, women, girls and the LGBTI population are generally the most vulnerable.

A very common example of gender-based violence is the teasing, assaults and disqualifications suffered by people from the LGBTI community.

Racial violence

It has to do with acts of aggression towards a person or group that is considered inferior or a minority because of their race.

The forced displacement of minority ethnic groups (such as the Rohingyas, a Muslim ethnic group in Myanmar) is an example of racial violence.

See also:

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