Family violence takes place in a family, an intimate relationship, or a situation of dependency or trust. Abusers use violence to take control over those who are vulnerable because of their age, gender, ability, or other factors. Violence is never okay or justified.
According to the 2004 General Social Survey, it is estimated that 7% of Canadians over the age of 15 experienced spousal violence in the previous five years.
Signs of Abuse
People who are subject to abuse may:
- Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner.
- Go along with everything their partner says and does.
- Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they're doing.
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner.
- Talk about their partner's temper, jealousy, or possessiveness.
- Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of "accidents."
- Frequently miss work, school or social occasions without explanation.
- Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars.
- Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident.
- Show major personality changes.
- Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal.
If you are a victim of abuse, here are some options
- Call a family member or friend that you trust
- Call a woman's shelter or crisis line. Talking with a shelter can help you make the choices that are right for you, and finding the help that you need
- Call the police. Violence is a crime.
- Joint a support group. You are not alone, a group can help you find ways to protect yourself and deal with the changes in your life.
- See a counsellor.
To help a friend deal with abuse
- Give your friend the clear message that violence is not okay, and that it is not his or her fault.
- Help your friend make a safety plan so that s/he knows where s/he can go when s/he is in danger (and how s/he can do it).
- have an extra set of car keys and some money hidden
- have a safe hiding place figured out
- work out a code with someone you trust
- keep emergency phone numbers handy.
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