Intimate Partner Violence


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Intimate partner violence (also called domestic violence) is a pattern of behaviour used by one person to gain power and control over another person with whom they have or previously had an intimate relationship. Anyone can experience intimate partner violence, regardless of age, race, economic status, religion, sexual orientation or education.

Counselling/psychotherapy can help you to better understand the ways the violence might have impacted you, how to cope with the impact, and to develop safety plans. The services are based on each person’s personal circumstances, needs and choices.

Intimate partner violence can include:

  • physical violence with the use of hands, objects or weapons
  • sexual violence, including threats, intimidation, physical force or using a position of power for sexual purposes
  • emotional abuse, verbal abuse or psychological intimidation, including threatening to kill a partner, a child, a pet or livestock
  • spiritual abuse, including using religion to threaten or intimidate, forcing someone to comply with religious beliefs against their will or preventing someone from practicing their beliefs
  • financial abuse, including stealing, controlling finances, forcing a partner to work or prohibiting a partner from working
  • harassment and stalking, including monitoring a partner’s activities online, using electronic devices to watch or control them, following them or consistently invading their privacy
  • cyber-violence, including image and video sharing without consent, taking pictures or video without a person’s consent, online bullying, harassment, unwanted sexting and hate speech.

Warning signs of someone who may be experiencing intimate partner violence include:

  • Their partner puts them down often
  • Their partner does all the talking and dominates the conversation
  • They are apologetic or make excuses for their partners’ behaviour
  • They are depressed, anxious or show other changes in their personality
  • They are constantly worried about making their partner angry
  • They are sick and/or miss work more often than usual
  • They miss appointments or days at school
  • Their partner checks up on them all the time, even at work or at school
  • They stop spending time with friends and family
  • They seem withdrawn and fearful
  • They have unexplained injuries

Where to get immediate help

  1. Call 911.
  2. Assaulted Women’s Helpline provides a safe space, free of judgement, anytime, day or night, to support, listen and guide women who have experienced any type of abuse anywhere in Ontario. Services are available in over 200 languages, including 17 Indigenous languages. Visit Assaulted Women’s Helpline or call 1-866-863-0511.
  3. Talk4Healing is a culturally grounded, fully confidential helpline for Indigenous women available in 14 languages all across Ontario. It is available through talk, text and chat. Visit Talk4Healing or call 1-855-554-HEAL.
  4. Access a local shelter. Find a shelter at ShelterSafe.
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