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Do you know a woman who is being abused? A legal rights handbook

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Part 1: Introduction

This handbook is for any woman in Ontario who is being abused, or who has been abused, by her partner. The word "partner" in this handbook means a spouse, common-law spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

The language in this handbook reflects the reality that men are usually the abusive partners in a relationship. However, abuse and violence can happen in other relationships too. For example, women in same-sex relationships can also experience abuse and violence. The information in this handbook applies to these relationships too.

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult. Friends and family are not always understanding or supportive. You might face financial hardship and a legal system that can be intimidating. There can be cultural pressures and feelings of isolation.

A number of legal and community resources might be helpful to you during this time. This handbook gives you practical legal information. It also tells you what to expect if you decide to leave your abusive partner or change your situation.