What is domestic violence?


Domestic Violence

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The Power & Control Wheel above describes many of the different types of abuse.These include threatening, and violent behaviours designed to control the thoughts, feelings, and actions of another person through the use of fear, intimidation, humiliation, and pain, including emotional and psychological abuse, financial control and abuse, physical violence up to and including murder, sexual violence, and stalking/harassment, within a current or previous intimate relationship.


Such behaviours may be a one-time incident causing physical and/or emotional injury to the victim and her family; however, in most instances, partner abuse becomes a repeated pattern of coercive, threatening, and violent behaviours which become more severe over time.


Emotional and Psychological Abuse


Includes a wide range of behaviours intended to hurt, demean, criticize, humiliate, threaten, and/or control another person through the use of fear, anxiety, confusion, and dependence, including but not limited to:

  • ongoing and intense criticism;
  • name-calling and other forms of verbal abuse designed to hurt, embarrass, and humiliate;
  • threats to harm self;
  • threats and violence towards others, including family members, friends, and co-workers;
  • threats and violence towards pets and personal property;
  • threats associated with immigration status, marital status, and custody and access;
  • reckless and dangerous behaviour, such as running red lights and dangerous driving;
  • inappropriate and excessive expressions of jealousy and possessiveness;
  • excessive interest in and control over daily activities
  • imposed social isolation.


Financial Control and Abuse


Includes a wide range of behaviours which reinforce the power and control of the abuser and  increase the victim’s dependence These behaviours can include:

  • withholding and controlling money required for essential items;
  • irresponsible spending causing financial hardships for the victim and/or family;
  • withholding information about the financial resources of the couple/family;
  • denying access to bank accounts and financial records –and-
  • forcing you to sign financial documents.


Physical Violence


Includes violent, hurtful, and aggressive behaviours including but not limited to:

  • hitting, punching, and slapping;
  • kicking;
  • shoving, pushing, dragging, and hair pulling;
  • restraining, confining, and binding;
  • spitting and biting;
  • choking;
  • burning with fire or chemicals, such as acid;
  • withholding food, medications, and other necessities of life;
  • using objects and weapons to injure or maim –and-
  • murder.


Sexual Violence


Includes sexually intrusive, abusive, and controlling behaviours designed to meet the needs of the abuser including but not limited to:

  • any unwanted or forced sexual contact with partner or others;
  • any unwanted or forced use of objects during sexual contact;
  • any unwanted or forced modifications to a person’s body, such as shaving pubic hair;
  • withholding sexual, physical, or intimate contact;
  • exposure to and/or forced participation in pornography;
  • exposure to and/or transmission of sexually transmitted diseases by denying use of protection and/or denying possibility of transmission –and-
  • sexually humiliating and demeaning comments, jokes, and accusations.


Stalking and Harassment


Includes behaviours designed to maintain unwanted or forced contact between an abuser and his victim, generate fear, and/or to allow the abuser to observe, monitor, and control his partner’s activities. Some forms of stalking and harassment are against the law. Section 264 of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibits criminal harassment as defined below:


No person shall, without lawful authority, engage in the listed conduct that causes the other person to reasonably fear for his/her safety or the safety of others:

a) repeatedly follow from place to place the other person or anyone known to them;

b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them;

c) besetting or watching the dwelling, house or place, where the other person or anyone known to them resides, works, carries on business or happens to

be – or –

d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.