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How common is domestic violence?

One in four women will experience an episode of domestic violence during her lifetime. One in two female murder victims are killed by their partner. Almost 70% of these victims were abused prior to their death.

Don't men also experience abuse from their female partners?

While both men and women can be abusive to each other, women are most often the victims of domestic violence and are at higher risk of being seriously harmed and/or killed by their male partners. Over 90% of domestic violence fatalities are women.  However, violence is also committed by women towards men and within same sex relationships.

Does domestic violence affect children?

Any type of violence in a family can have a severe emotional impact on children and is a form of emotional maltreatment; because family violence is predominantly a physical act, children can be directly and indirectly at risk of physical/emotional harm. As the primary caregiver for your children, it remains your responsibility to protect them from encountering any form of adult conflict in the home.

Why do women stay in abusive relationships?

A woman may feel she cannot leave an abusive relationship for many reasons - her partner has threatened to harm her if she leaves; she fears for her own and her children's safety; she depends on her partner's income; she is too emotionally weakened and battered down; she feels ashamed and blames herself for the abuse; her partner's abuse isolates her from family and friends; she hopes the relationship will improve.

How do I know if I'm abused?

You may be a victim of abuse if you're in a relationship with someone who:

  • controls finances so you have to ask for money
  • looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
  • acts jealous or possessive, or accuses you of being unfaithful
  • tries to control how you spend your time, who you see or talk to, where you go or what you wear
  • wants you to get permission to make everyday decisions
  • gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • scares you by driving recklessly
  • threatens to kill him or herself.

Are there warning signs that might indicate someone I know is experiencing abuse or domestic violence?

While you can't know for sure, some things to watch out for are:

  • unexplained bruises, injuries, broken bones
  • absences from work/school
  • appearing sad, withdrawn, fearful, nervous especially around her/his partner
  • avoiding you and/or not talking about her home life
  • using more alcohol or drugs.

How can I help a friend/family member who I suspect is being abused?

Speak to the person in private about your concerns. Listen and be understanding. Encourage them to talk about what they are experiencing. Let them know that you are worried for their safety and well being, and want to provide support. If you believe children are in danger, talk to the person about that. Tell them that they are not to blame. Offer to accompany them to a local shelter or to a crisis support service for help. Recognize and respect that it might take time for the person to make changes in their lives. Continue to be supportive.

How do I talk to an abusive man?

Talking to an abusive man is an important part of preventing woman abuse, but it needs to be done carefully. Choose the right time and place to have a full discussion. Approach him when he is alone and calm. Be direct and clear about what you have seen. Tell him that you are concerned for the safety of his partner and children. Never argue with him. Being confrontational or argumentative may make the situation worse and put her at higher risk. There are services to help him in the community (e.g. PAR Program, John Howard Society, 705-743-8331).

What can I do to help stop domestic violence and relationship abuse?

Reach out to someone who may need your help and support.  You can also get involved in promoting and/or undertaking greater public education about domestic violence and healthy/unhealthy relationships at all levels - in schools, at libraries, through various community organizations, municipalities, workplaces, etc.