Date of this Version



© 2004, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Most physical abuse or battering begins with some kind of verbal abuse. Physical abuse is easy to identify because you can see a black eye or bruise. But verbal abuse is hard to see and define. Laws usually don't define verbal abuse or require it to be reported. Verbal abuse might be misinterpreted as a bad habit, a bad temper, or "just the way the person talks."

Verbal abuse can be a weapon used by either girls or boys, men or women. However, reports show that more women are abused by men, than men by women. Verbal abuse sometimes is found in significant partner relationships where there is sex, intimacy and commitment. It also can be found in families, work or school situations, among students, and even among friends. Unfortunately, it may even start when boys and girls begin to date. You can help prevent verbal abuse by learning more about what it means.

People may learn about verbal abuse by finding out how it is defined, what the signs are, how to prevent it, how to intervene in verbal abuse, and how to get help if needed. Verbal abuse is behavior that is hurtful, intimidating, fearful and unacceptable and should be stopped!