Family violence is defined as the abuse of power within relationships of family, trust or dependency that endangers the survival, security or well-being of another person. It takes many forms including intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, child sexual abuse, parent abuse, elder abuse and neglect, and witnessing the abuse of others in the family. Family violence may include some or all of the following behaviours: physical abuse; psychological abuse; criminal harassment/stalking; verbal and emotional abuse; sexual violence and abuse; financial abuse; and spiritual abuse. Family violence is defined as the abuse of power within relationships of family, trust or dependency that endangers the survival, security or well-being of another person. It takes many forms including intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, child sexual abuse, parent abuse, elder abuse and neglect, and witnessing the abuse of others in the family. Family violence may include some or all of the following behaviours: physical abuse; psychological abuse; criminal harassment/stalking; verbal and emotional abuse; sexual violence and abuse; financial abuse; and spiritual abuse.
The definition above is taken from the report called Family Violence Hurts Everyone, a Framework to End Family Violence in Alberta.The following is a range of resources that can serve as a starting point when faced with family violence:
1. Online Resources to Educate: Sometimes, it can be confusing to understand what is happening or how to describe it. These are online resources to browse and learn more about the situation that you may be facing before taking steps.
a. The Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta has a series of videos, infographics and brochures that cover things such as the role of the police, protection orders, financial support, leaving an abusive relationship if you are not a Canadian Citizen, and more: https://www.cplea.ca/publications/abuse-and-family-violence/#domesticviolenceseries
Domestic Violence Shelters: These can be a starting point in searching for a shelter to go to. Different shelters have different levels of service. While some cater exclusively to women, some can help men or cater to specific demographics
a. The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters has an interactive map that lists all shelters in Alberta at https://acws.ca/shelters. You can call at 1-866-331-3933b. Sage Seniors Association is an organization in Edmonton that helps men and women aged 60 and older. You can contact them at 780-702-1520 or at www.mysage.ca
Financial Abuse/ Dealing with Financial Aftermath of Fleeing from Family Violence: Leaving an abusive relationship can mean your source of money for daily living will no longer be available. Some programs and resources to help with the financial hardship after fleeing abuse are:
a. Alberta Works: Supports for Albertans Fleeing Abuse is a program that can provide a wide variety of supports such as funds to relocate, basic needs, and more. Call 1-866-644-9992 on weekdays, 1-866-644-5135 on weekends or get information online atwww.albertasupports.ca
b. You can also apply for Child Support and Spousal Support through the courts. Contact the Government of Alberta’s Resolution and Court Administration Services at 1-855-738-4747 or visitwww.rcas.alberta.ca for help, especially if you cannot afford a lawyer.
Therapy/ Counseling for Healing Psychologically: Healing from the pain of family violence can be difficult and can take a while. These are some resources, available in person and over the phone.
a. Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton is an organization that helps people who have experienced sexual abuse and sexual assault, which is a typical component of family violence. They serve children and adults. The services are free, and they can be contacted at https://www.sace.ab.ca/ or at 780-423-4102.
b. The Canadian Mental Health Association also has a list of resources for counselling, therapy and support groups. The main website is https://alberta.cmha.ca/ where you can find the webpage for your city or town. You can also access their service by dialing 311 or the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.
Child-Specific: There are specialized programs and services to help children as well. This can be valuable since children can process trauma differently, given that they are still growing.
a. Zebra Child Protection Centre https://www.zebracentre.ca/
b. Kids Help Phone Line is an available resource for kids and teens to speak to a counsellor. An online chat option is available at https://kidshelpphone.ca/, through the phone by calling 1-800-668-6868, or by downloading their app called ‘Always There’, available for Apple and Android phones.
While this list is specific to Edmonton or Alberta, an online search that includes your location – if it is a more remote one – can help identify what is available nearby. More often than not, when getting in touch with social agencies for any purpose, if you mention what else you need help with, they can direct you to other resources as well.
Websites of specific municipalities may also have a directory of where to get help. Alberta.ca is also a good resource.