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Passive violence: what is neglect, and what to do if you’ve been a victim

As we used to understand it, violence is severe psychological or physical pressure directed at the victim, but the problem is much broader than we used to imagine. 

Humiliation, insults, accusations and sometimes use of force are the most frequent forms of violence. But there is another type that is distinguished by its “invisibility” and it is not easy to recognize it not only for outside observers but also for the victim. This type of violence is called neglect.

Neglect is a form of violence where a person in power does not provide the assistance he or she needs, deliberately refuses to meet the vital needs of the dependent person and denies his or her involvement in the situation.

Examples of neglect:

  • A Neglect does not care for you during your illness;
  • After the birth of the child, the partner completely shifts the responsibility for the care of the child to you, moving to a different room to have time to rest, does not offer assistance, does not allow rest from the load of existing responsibilities;
  • Neglector independently manages the purchase of things for you, refusing to buy the necessary things;
  • Neglector refuses to help elderly relatives or children who are physically unable to serve themselves;
  • The Partner alone makes decisions on important joint purchases;
  • Neglector does not put you in touch with important events, nor does it warn you of their occurrence/cancellation/transfer.

This type of hidden violence also involves several forms.


The physical form of Neglect is characterized by depreciation of the need for health care, systematic refusal to buy the necessary thing, unwillingness to recognize the seriousness of the disease or situation, such as the refusal to take health care seriously during pregnancy or after childbirth.


This type of hidden violence implies a reluctance to respect the partner’s feelings and needs for love, understanding, communication, especially in case of any life problems and difficulties, for example, after losing a loved one.


Neglect can manifest itself not only in relation to close people – the social form of this type of violence is also characterized by abuse of official position, for example, the refusal of the doctor to provide the patient with necessary medication, explaining that in his position it will have no effect.

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