According to one definition, ritual abuse is methodical abuse, often using indoctrination, aimed at breaking the will of another human being.

In a 1989 report, the Ritual Abuse Task Force of the L.A. County Commission for Women defined ritual abuse as: "Ritual Abuse usually involves repeated abuse over an extended period of time. The physical abuse is severe, sometimes including torture and killing. The sexual abuse is usually painful, humiliating, intended as a means of gaining dominance over the victim. The psychological abuse is devastating and involves the use of ritual indoctrination. It includes mind control techniques which convey to the victim a profound terror of the cult members ...most victims are in a state of terror, mind control and dissociatio