Domestic violence

A victim of domestic violence may be a man or a woman. As a victim, you can report the violence and obtain assistance.

Forms of domestic violence

There are various forms of domestic violence, and it may:

  • be used to control the other spouse; or
  • occur during an argument.

Control

In general, domestic violence is a strategy that a person uses deliberately to control and dominate his or her spouse. The strategy may involve, for example:

  • physical violence such as blows or burns;
  • psychological violence such as disparaging comments or control over the other spouse's movement, leading to social isolation;
  • verbal violence such as sarcasm or insults;
  • sexual violence such as sexual assault or sexual disparagement;
  • economic violence, such as control over the other spouse's earnings and spending.

When domestic violence is intended to control the other person, it is generally introduced gradually into their life as a couple. 

Arguments

In some cases, a person exercises physical or mental violence against his or her spouse during an argument. Although this type of violence is not intended to control the other spouse, it constitutes domestic violence if it occurs repeatedly.

Consequences of domestic violence

Domestic violence has an effect on the physical and mental health of:

  • the victim;
  • any children or teenagers who witness the violence.

Effect on the victim

A person who is subjected to domestic violence may be injured by his or her spouse. The injuries may have serious consequences and even lead to death.

In addition, the victim experiences significant stress, which then has a serious physical and psychological effect on his or her development, health and well-being.

For example, the victim may experience:

  • chronic pain syndrome;
  • sexual or eating disorders;
  • anxiety;
  • depression.

The victim may also:

  • lose his or her self-esteem;
  • have feelings of shame or guilt.

Effect on children or teenagers who witness domestic violence

When one of a child's parents is subjected to domestic violence, the child experiences significant stress. Although not directly targeted by the violence, the child may experience:

  • anxiety or depression;
  • learning disorders;
  • social or communication difficulties.

In addition, the child will be more at risk of suffering physical or sexual assault.

Requesting assistance

To obtain assistance, you should contact one of the aid organizations in your region.

Reporting domestic violence

To report domestic violence, contact your local police department (in French).

Applying for a protection order 

To obtain protection from your aggressor, you can apply to the court for a protection order.

A third party may also apply for the order on your behalf.

Terminating a lease

If you no longer feel safe in a rented dwelling, you can terminate your lease.

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