Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Abuse

Mother and small childDomestic Violence:

Is any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, in an intimate relationship.  Including emotional/psychological abuse or harassing behaviour.  Intimate relationships include those between opposite-sex and same -sex partners.  This abuse can happen at any time during the relationship.  One person tries to maintain power and control over another through abuse or violence.

Warning Signs may be:

Feeling like you can’t live without him/her
Wanting to end the relationship, but are too afraid
You stop seeing friends and family
Feeling harassed or controlled about who you see, what you do, who you talk to
Having to ‘Walk on Eggshells’ to keep the peace
Believe that jealousy is a sign of love
Feeling pressured to do things you don’t want to (like having sex)
Thinking that you are the only one that can help them

If you or someone you know has been affected by the above, or you just want information on how to cope, from the past or present experience.  We have resources that we can share with you to help overcome some of the hurdles.

For example, we have:

  • Abuse is Wrong
  • Cycle of Abuse
  • Do you know a Woman who is being Abused
  • Family Law Book
  • How Can I Help a Friend or Family Member
  • If You Hear From Others
  • My Rights
  • Power & Control / Equality Wheel
  • Restraining Orders – A Self Help Guide
  • Restraining Orders, Peace Bonds & Terms of Release
  • Safety Planning

Teen Dating Violence:

  • Fact Sheet for Moms and Dads
  • Help Starts Here – If Your Child is a Victim of a Crime
  • Safety Planning with Teens
  • Technology and Teen Dating Violence
  • Teens and Violence
  • Teen Dating Violence: What you Need to Know
  • Teen Dating Violence fact sheet
  • Teen Power & Control / Equality Wheel
  • The Person I go out with Sometimes Scares Me

Children who have been exposed to Domestic Violence or other Trauma:

Children react to trauma in their own way depending on their age and developmental stage. It is important to know that children react the same way they see their parent(s) reacting.

Your Child may feel:

  • Shock, disbelief, and denial
  • Frightened
  • Afraid
  • Helpless
  • Angry
  • Guilty
  • Sad

Your Child may be experiencing:

  • Difficulty in coping with life
  • Bad dreams, nightmares
  • Becoming clingy, whiney or not willing to let you out of sight
  • Stomach aches, headaches, nausea, vomiting
  • Changes in appetite
  • Becoming quiet

Some resources we have are:

  • Helping Children Thrive
  • Helping Children Who Have Experienced Domestic Violence
  • Learning to Listen, Learning to Help
  • Little Eyes, Little Ears
  • When Children Are Exposed To An Abusive Parent

These are just a few examples of the resources we have at our offices.  If you are looking for more resources or referrals in your local area give us a call 1-866-376-9852 24-hour contact line.

Always remember: The safest way to leave an abusive situation is a well-planned escape.  Read this Safety Plan to assist you to be better prepared in case you have to leave an abusive situation. If you are in immediate danger call 911 and leave immediately.

Safety Plan-VSBGP

You can ask for support in safety planning by calling 1-866-376-9852 or call your local Women’s Shelter.

Things to think about:

  • Request a police escort or ask a friend, neighbour or family member to accompany you when you leave. When talking to the police you can request a police officer that specializes in abuse cases.
  • Do not tell your partner you are leaving. Leave quickly.
  • If you are injured, go to a doctor, emergency room or a clinic and report what happened to you. Ask them to document your visit.
  • Have a backup plan if your partner finds out where you are going.
  • Consult a lawyer. Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as photos. Keep a journal of all violent incidents, noting dates, events, threats and any witnesses.
  • Arrange for someone to care for your pets temporarily, until you get settled.
  • Remember to clear your phone of the last number you called to avoid the abuser utilizing redial.

Things you can do to prepare:

  • Open a bank account in your own name and arrange that no bank statements or other calls be made to you. Or, arrange that mail be sent to a friend or family member.
  • Changing address with Canada Post – make arrangements for notice NOT to come to your present address.
  • Plan your emergency exits. Think about safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and where there are at least two ways to escape. Never lock yourself in the bathroom. Keep yourself between your partner and your emergency escape if you feel you may need to get out safely
  • Plan and rehearse the steps you will take if you have to leave quickly, and learn them well
  • Decide & plan for where you will go if you have to leave home even if you don’t think you will need to
  • If the situation is very dangerous, use your own instinct and judgment to keep yourself safe. Call the police as soon as it is safe to do so.

Items to copy and hide in a safe place (i.e. at a friend’s or family member’s home, with your lawyer, in a safety deposit box). Hide the originals someplace else:

  • Passports, birth certificates, Social Insurance Cards, immigration papers, for all family members
  • Health cards, School and vaccination records
  • Medications, prescriptions, medical records for all family members
  • Work permits
  • Divorce papers, custody documentation, court orders, restraining orders, marriage certificate
  • Lease/rent agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book, house insurance and copies of the past
  • 1-3 years of your partner’s T4s
  • Address/telephone book
  •  Picture of spouse/partner
  •  All cards you normally use i.e. credit cards, bank cards, phone card, chequebook, bank statements
  • Try to keep all the cards you normally use in your wallet
  • Set aside, in a place you can get to quickly, $10 to $15 for cab fare, and change for telephone calls
  • Driver’s license and vehicle registration and insurance

Grab and go items:

  • Emergency suitcase with immediate needs
  • Special toys, comforts for children
  • Jewelry
  • Small saleable objects
  • Items of special sentimental value
  • A list of other items you would like to take if you get a chance to come back to your home later
  • In some circumstances arrangements can be made to have the police bring you back to the home later, to remove additional personal belongings but it is best to take what ou need when you leave if possible.

When you leave, take the children if you can. If you try to get them later, the police cannot help you remove them from their other parent unless you have a valid court order signed and directed by a judge.