Physical and mental assault

What is physical and mental assault?

When violence is spoken about, most of us think of actions which cause pain or injuries to the body. Such acts are known as physical violence.

What we maybe do not think about is that there are several other types of actions which are also violent in nature. To be pushed once is maybe not so bad, but to be pushed on a daily basis is unbearable. It is the same thing with mental abuse. To be irritated once is annoying, but to every day be called a whore, ugly or stupid destroys self-esteem.

Physical assault

Physical assault occurs when your body is subjected to violence, from one or more people. It could be being pushed, kicked, hit or slapped. Physical abuse is, apart from theft and unlawful entry, one of the most reported crimes against persons.

When young men are subjected to physical violence it often happens in a public place and by somebody they do not know. When young women are assaulted, it is often by a young man who they do know. Often it is someone who she is with or has been with in the past.

Mental assault

Mental assault could be that you are insulted through degrading or offensive language, such as somebody calling you: whore, stupid, ugly or disgusting. It could also be insulting behaviour such as being threatened or forced to do things that feel wrong. It could be someone breaking somebody else’s things so as to make them obey.

Mental abuse leaves no bruises or other physical injuries. It can therefore be more difficult both to uncover and to prove, but it is still just as serious a crime as physical abuse. Those who subject others to mental abuse do it in order to control the other person. The victim suffers through having his/her self-esteem, ego, thoughts and feelings violated.


Alcohol is not automatically connected with violence. Some of those who hit others are alcoholics, others are not. Some only hit others when they have been drinking. Others only hit when they are sober. Alcohol is, on the other hand, often used as an excuse for why someone has hit somebody else.

Corporal punishment, forbidden by Swedish law

It is illegal to hit children in Sweden. In 1979 all violence directed towards children was forbidden. This means that parents may not hit their children. All people under the age of 18 years old are considered to be children. Sweden was the first country in the world to forbid violence directed towards children, or the corporal punishment of children, as it was also known. In many countries in the world it is still legal to hit children, i.e. in U.S.A. and Great Britain. Violence towards children occurs in all levels of society, in all professional groups and residential areas.

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