Legal Options for Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse can have the same lasting emotional effects as physical abuse.
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Verbal abuse can be tricky to deal with legally. Because of the nature of verbal abuse, stories change, so there is no exact record of who said what. People might also lie after the fact. This makes it difficult to take legal action against someone who is verbally abusive. There are a few options available, but it is important to consult with a lawyer prior to taking legal action.


If there are any witnesses to the verbal abuse, ask them to sign affidavits. These are written statements where the witnesses describe what happened, in their own words. Make sure these statements are signed, and include the witnesses' contact information so that a lawyer can get in touch with them for verification. Signed affidavits are used in a court of law as evidence.

File a Report

Whether the verbal abuse is taking place in the home, at work or at a public location, it is important to have written evidence about the abuse. File a report with the human resources department if it is a co-worker inflicting the abuse or with the police if it is outside of work. This report might never be investigated but if the abuse continues you will have written documentation of the abuse and your attempt to solve the issue.

File a Restraining Order

Restraining orders are oftentimes granted for physical abuse situations, or if the victim feels threatened. A restraining order might not be granted the first time it is applied for, but there will still be written documentation that the victim of the verbal abuse was afraid enough to try to keep the abuser away from her. This is important, legally, and will be used for evidence if the case ever goes to court.

Use a Recorder

Although recording someone without his permission may be thrown out as evidence in a court of law, presenting a recording of verbal abuse might still sway the opinion of the district attorney and lawyers involved in the case. Using a recorder while an abuser is yelling or being demeaning will also allow you to accurately transcribe what was said onto paper for documentation.

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