Violence is often associated only with physical violence, neglecting other nonphysical forms. Violence is a complex issue and categorising different types of violence can never be exact.

The Council of Europe Istanbul Convention mentions the following types of violence:

  • psychological violence (Art. 33)
  • stalking (Art. 34)
  • physical violence (Art. 35)
  • forced marriages (Art. 37)
  • sexual violence, including rape (Art. 36)
  • female genital mutilation (Art. 38)
  • forced abortion and forced sterilisation (Art. 39)
  • sexual harassment (Art. 40)
  • aiding or abetting and attempt (Art. 41)
  • unacceptable justifications for crimes, including crimes committed in the name of so-called honour (Art. 42).

Using these as a basis, we shall distinguish five inter-related types of violence:

There also two other categories of violence: domestic violence and (sexual) harassment, both of which may be a combination of all five types of violence mentioned above. In reality, some or many forms of violence can be present at the same time, particularly in abusive relationships. All forms can occur both in the private sphere (in families and intimate relationships) and in the public sphere, committed by (unknown) individuals in public space, or by organisations, institutions and states.