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

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What is abuse?

When we see the terms "domestic violence", "family violence", "intimate partner violence", or "violence against women", we often think only of physical violence or injury. But abuse is not just physical. It can also be emotional, sexual, psychological, or financial. Abuse can include assault and other types of mistreatment and cruelty, such as threatening or stalking a person. All types of abuse have one thing in common: they create fear.

If your partner does any of the following things, you could be a victim of abuse. This list shows only some abusive behaviours. It does not include everything.

Your partner might:

  • not let you have any money or take away control of the family finances
  • cut off your contact with friends or family, and stop you from making new friends
  • threaten to hurt you or your children
  • threaten to hurt or damage something that is special to you, like a pet or something you treasure
  • threaten to have you deported from Canada
  • withhold your identification or other important documents
  • threaten to take your children away from you
  • threaten to call the Children’s Aid Society and report you as a child abuser
  • threaten to call the welfare office and tell them you are getting social assistance illegally
  • force you to do things you do not want to do sexually
  • threaten to hurt himself if you do not do what he wants