WHAT IS ABUSE?

Abuse is a deliberate behavior in which one person chooses to dominate, control or harm another. Perpetrators abuse against the will of victims, who never ask or choose to be abused.

People being abused tend to know when behavior is abusive.

Trust your gut and remember you are the expert on your own life.

No one deserves to be the victim! 

Remember that the only person responsible for abuse,

is the abusive person.

Clare’s Law, also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, is a police policy giving people the right to know if their current or ex-partner has any previous history of violence or abuse. The scheme is named after Clare Wood who was murdered by her abusive ex-partner in 2009.

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SHARING FEELINGS

Healthy

Both partners feel safe and secure enough to tell each other how they feel.

Unhealthy

The partners feel awkward and don't tell each other how they feel.

Abusive

One partner is afraid to tell the other how they feel. They’re scared their partner will make them feel bad or threaten them.

Communication

Healthy

Both partners listen to and respect each other's points of view. They make decisions together.

Unhealthy

One partner ignores the other and doesn't respect different opinions.

Abusive

One partner treats the other with disrespect. They ignore the other person's ideas and feelings or make fun of them.

DISAGREEMENTS

Healthy

The partners disagree but still talk respectfully to each other. They work things out together, so they both get what they need.

Unhealthy

Disagreements often turn into fights.

Abusive

One partner is afraid to disagree because they don't want the other person to get angry and violent. The disagreement is an excuse for abuse.

INTIMACY & SEX

Healthy

Both partners can be honest about how they feel about being physical and having sex. Neither partner feels pressured to do anything they don't want to do.

Unhealthy

One partner is embarrassed to say how they feel or what they need. Feeling embarrassed makes the person go along with things that make them uncomfortable.

Abusive

One partner ignores the other person's needs and wants. The other partner feels forced to do things that make them uncomfortable, afraid, or ashamed.

TIME APART

Healthy

Both partners feel good about spending time apart. They know it’s part of a healthy relationship.

Unhealthy

One partner thinks there may be something wrong if the other person wants to do things without them. One partner tries to limit the other’s activities.

Abusive

One partner doesn't let the other do things on their own because they feel it threatens the relationship.

VERBAL ABUSE

Healthy

Both partners try hard not to talk harshly to or about each other. 

Unhealthy

Harsh language is sometimes used in the relationship, but there is no pattern (where it happens regularly) of abuse or violence. 

Abusive

There is a pattern of verbal or psychological (mental) abuse or control. Examples are controlling money, damaging belongings, or threatening to hurt or kill. The abuse may be getting worse.

PHYSICAL VIOLENCE

Healthy

There is no physical violence (such as pushing, slapping, shaking, choking, punching, or forcing sex) or threat of violence in the relationship. 

Unhealthy

There is physical violence in the relationship with no regular pattern.

Abusive

There is a pattern of physical violence that may be getting worse.

TYPES OF ABUSE AND SOME COMMON EXAMPLES

Please note this not a comprehensive list, many other examples exist. 

ALL these forms of violence can create a situation that requires HELP. 

Emotional, Verbal and
Psychological Abuse

• Name calling, belittling, constantly criticism

• Screaming at you

• Mocking you

• Putting down your family and friends

• Threatening you about the children (i.e. telling them that you will lose custody, saying they will leave town with the children)

• Demanding household chores such as dinner, housework, laundry etc. are done in the way they want

• Abusing or neglecting children and not allowing you to intervene

• Not speaking to you for days at a time

• Using lack of legal rights to control you (threatening to get you deported if you are an immigrant; threatening to kick you out of the house with nothing if you are common-law)

• Ending a discussion and then making decisions without you

• Telling you that you are a bad person

• Stalking (harassing, following you around town, showing up where they know you will be, watching you at home through windows)

• Making you feel like you are "going crazy" 

Using Technology to Abuse 

• Vilifying you on social media by spreading lies and/or gossip and rumours

• Monitoring all of your phones calls and emails/texts to control your behaviour and isolate you socially, sometimes by secretly installing keystroke logging software

• Posting exploitive photos or videos without your consent, to humiliate and hurt you

• Harassing texts, emails, and messages that threaten, intimidate and terrify you. Often these occur throughout the night to disrupt your sleep and maximize negative impact

• Recruiting friends, family members and others to harass and intimidate you via text, email, social media etc.

• Using GPS and other online apps to track your whereabouts so they can show up there and stalk or scare you by letting you know they are tracking you

• Using apps to track your spending and control money

• Setting up false accounts on social media sites to gain access to your and information on your whereabouts, friends, family, etc.

• Hacking into your accounts, email, banking, social media profiles etc. to access info, post inappropriate things as you to get you in trouble etc.

• Posting your contact info and sharing it widely so you are inundated with spam, threatening messages, frightening/ inappropriate images/videos/messages 

Physical Abuse 

• Slapping, hitting, kicking, biting or punching you

• Pushing, grabbing, throwing or shoving

• Driving recklessly with you in the car • Causing bruises, cuts, broken bones, etc.

• Preventing you from leaving a room

• Locking you in or out of the home

• Abandoning you in an unsafe place

• Hurting others you loves (i.e. children, pets, family, friends)

• Throwing, hitting, kicking, burning or smashing objects i.e. furniture, walls, dishes, possessions

• Threatening to become physically abusive towards you or those she loves

• Choking, strangling, cutting off air supply

• Using a knife, gun or other weapon

• Attempting to murder you

• Victims may experience any other number of examples of physical abuse 

Social Abuse/ Isolation 

• Stopping you from having access to family and/or friends

• Using jealousy to justify questioning and controlling you movements and activities

• Listening to your phone calls, monitoring the mileage on the car, calling/texting/emailing

 • Trying to keep you from doing things (going out with friends and family, going to work/school)

• Creating a 'scene' or being difficult in public situations to get you to stop wanting to attend public/social activities 

Financial/Economic Abuse 

• Keeping money from the family

• Trying to stop you from making money

• Trying to make you hand over money

• Trying to make you account for how you spends money

• Forcing the family to live in poverty when money is available

• Racking up debt, often in your name 

Cultural/Spiritual Abuse 

• Attacking or ridiculing your belief system and/or culture

• Attempting to stop you from practicing or participating in spiritual practices

• Attempting to use spirituality or religion as a means of controlling you

• Destroying spiritual objects or scriptures

• Attempting to force you to accept spiritual beliefs or engage in spiritual practice 

Sexualized Abuse 

• Emotionally pressuring you to have sex when you doesn't want to

• Physically forcing you to have sex

• Emotionally pressuring you or forcing you to have sex with other people, animals, or objects • Threatening to "out" you if gay or bisexual

• Demanding you wear more (or less) provocative clothing

• Denying you sexuality

• Making degrading sexual comments

• Making threats if you doesn't comply with sex

• Forcing you to have sex for money or to participate in pornography

• Threatening to expose intimate details or photos

• Having sex with you while you is asleep or unconscious 

Intimidation, Threats and Control, including towards pets

• Destroying property

• Giving you angry looks

• Making you do something humiliating or degrading (i.e. begging for forgiveness, having to ask their permission to use the car or go out) • Saying things to scare you (i.e. telling you something bad will happen, threatening to commit suicide, threatening to hurt children, pets, friends, family or anyone that helps you)

• Bossing you around

• Threatening to give away, harm or kill the pets if you leaves

• Making rules about what you can say, do, wear, whom to talk to

• Changing the rules without telling you, unpredictably

• Reminding you of past abuse (i.e. "You remember what happened the last time you didn't listen to me”)

• Turning others against you

• Threatening to spread rumors about you to friends and family if you doesn't comply

Stalking and Harassing 

• Showing up at your place of work, either to watch or to confront and cause a scene

• Following you

• Acts of vandalism designed to incur expenses and instill fear such as slashing tires, breaking windows in home or car, writing insults on home, workplace or vehicle etc.

• Recruiting friends, family members and others to track your activities as well

• Harassing your friends, family, neighbours, coworkers etc.

• Leaving unwanted gifts, flowers or other items at your home, work, vehicle etc. 

Using the Judicial System to Abuse 

• Filing numerous motions, often at the last possible minute, to force court proceedings to go on for a long time

• Threatening and intimidating looks and demeanor in the court room, hallways and parking lots to instill fear in you

• Applying for sole custody despite never having been the primary caregiver, for the purposes of scaring you

• Agreeing to a motion, then applying to change it or revoking agreement, often at the last possible moment 

Medical Abuse 

• Refusing to allow you to seek attention for medical attention for illnesses and/or injuries

• Refusing you access to medication or medical assistance devices like walker, cane, etc.

• Forcing you to take certain medications

• Coercing you to lie to medical professionals in order to get prescription for the perpetrator

• Threatening to reveal private medical conditions, shaming you for medical condition 

Honour-Based Violence 

• Coercing, convincing and/or encouraging extended family members and friends to shame and abuse you

• Using cultural and/or religious grounds to justify violence against girls and women

• Maiming and/or killing to "restore honor to the family"

• Rejecting and shunning you in an attempt to control your behavior

• Forcing you to stay inside the home against your will