Family violence is when someone uses abusive behaviour to control and/or harm a member of their family, or someone with whom they have an intimate relationship. Family violence includes many different forms of physical and emotional abuse, as well as neglect that threatens the survival, safety, or well-being of another person. Family violence is not gender-specific, victims can be male, female, or identify as a sexual minority. Violence can exist between dating couples, spouses (married or common law), children, parents, siblings, elders, and extended family members.
Family violence may include some or all of the following behaviours:
You are NOT to blame. The violent and abusive behaviour (including emotional, physical, financial, sexual, property, spiritual, and internet abuse) is NOT your fault.
Family Violence is a CRIME. You deserve to be safe in your own home. Violence in the family is no less serious than violence in the street. The police will investigate reports of assault, threats, and stalking behaviours. CALL 911.
If you are at all injured, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. Document and keep photographs of your injuries, if possible.
DO NOT keep the abuse a secret. Ask for help and support for yourself and from people that you trust. Hiding the abusive behaviour does not serve anyone experiencing family violence OR the individual who uses abusive behaviours.
It is important to plan ahead to protect yourself against abusive behaviours. Become familiar with support services that can help you.
If you are concerned for your safety, file for an emergency protection order and report any breaches of this order to the police. This is NOT a vengeful act against an individual who uses abusive behaviours; it is a way to ensure your safety.
You may need to help yourself to deal with the effects of family violence on your emotional well-being. There are services available for anyone experiencing family violence.
Couples counselling or family counselling may not work if the individual will not accept responsibility for his/her use of abusive behaviours. This is NOT your fault.
Alcohol and drugs DO NOT cause the abuse, but being under the influence increases the probability and severity of your violence. Although it may help to dull the emotional pain of experiencing family violence, your ability to execute your safety plan is impaired if you are under the influence.
Abuse does impact children. When children witness violence in the home, it increases the chance that they will use abusive behaviours in the future. They DO NOT deserve to feel unsafe in their own home.
REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We are here to help.