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Family Violence

"I was treated with respect and dignity, the staff assisted me anyway she could, and I appreciate all the time she spent assisting me."

What is Family Violence?

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.

What Does Family Violence Look Like?

Family violence may include some or all of the following behaviours:

Physical Abuse

  • Pushing, shoving
  • Hitting, punching, slapping
  • Kicking, biting
  • Strangling, restraining
  • Getting locked out or denied access to the home
  • Being denied help when ill, injured or pregnant
  • Using weapons or objects against an individual
  • Abandoning an individual in a dangerous situation

Sexual Abuse

  • Forcing intercourse
  • Using sexual name-calling
  • Having affairs
  • Transmitting STIs
  • Pimping
  • Providing unwanted sexual attention
  • Being forced to watch sexual acts
  • Being forced to perform sexual acts or accept sexual acts

Emotional Abuse

  • Threating to harm an individual, their family or pets
  • Name calling
  • Yelling
  • Insulting
  • Belittling
  • Bribing
  • Bullying
  • Denying access to computer/friends/family/etc.
  • Manipulating an individual with lies and contradictions

Financial Abuse

  • Being denied access to bank account, credit cards, or vehicle
  • Selling an individual’s items
  • Putting all the bills in an individual’s name
  • Limiting access to benefits (dental, health, or prescription insurance)

Property Abuse

  • Threatening or destroying property
  • Threatening or harming pets

Spiritual Abuse

  • Criticizing or not allowing an individual to practice a certain faith
  • Manipulating an interpretation of a religious scripture to control and isolate an individual


  • Following an individual
  • Third party stalking
  • Monitoring an individual’s whereabouts
  • Providing unwanted contact
  • Internet Abuse
  • Destroying/deleting emails
  • Sending viruses to another person’s computer
  • Changing another person’s passwords
  • Posting malicious messages/photographs about another individual on the internet

Individuals in Abusive Relationships Need to Know

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.

Family Violence Information Line


Odyssey House

(Women’s shelter)

Grande Prairie Victim Services

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.

Breaches of Protection Order

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.


If you require assistance, please contact Victim Services
at (780) 830-5755.

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