What is domestic abuse?

Abuse means that someone hurts you or treats you badly. Domestic abuse means that the person who hurts you is a family member or romantic partner (such as your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend). The abuser can be male or female.

Domestic abuse is also called:

  • Domestic violence
  • Spousal abuse
  • Wife assault

Domestic abuse can be:

  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Financial

Domestic abuse is a crime in Canada. It is against the law.

At least 1 in 10 women in Canada experiences abuse. Domestic abuse happens to people from all races, religions, sexual orientations, income levels and education levels.

If you or someone you know experiences domestic abuse, you can get help.

Where can I get help for domestic abuse?

For More Information

  • Abuse is Wrong in Any Language - General information on Canadian law, women's rights and the kind of help you can get if they are being abused. It has information about issues of citizenship, sponsorship, deportation and threats of taking children out of the country. You can get it in many languages. From Justice Canada.
  • All Women. One Family Law - This website has information about family law in Ontario. The website is in many languages. From Family Law Education for Women (FLEW).
  • Family Violence When a Woman is Sponsored by a Spouse or Partner - This resource explains what sponsored women experiencing domestic violence need to know about immigration law. From CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario).
  • You and Your Baby... Abuse and Pregnancy - Abuse usually gets worse over time. It will not stop when your baby is born. This tipsheet has information about abuse during pregnancy. You can get it in many languages. From the Best Start Resource Centre.
  • Abuse in Same-Sex Relationships - Same-sex partner abuse is often ignored, minimized or misunderstood by families, friends, communities and services providers, but it is a reality. This brochure provides some information about abuse in same-sex relationships. From Rainbow Health Ontario.
  • Peace Bonds & Restraining Orders - This guide explains the criteria for getting a peace bond or a restraining order and the differences between them. From Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB).
  • No Means No: Understanding Consent to Sexual Activity - This brochure provides information on what is meant by the age of consent to sexual activity and an overview of Canada's laws on sexual assault and other offences involving sexual exploitation. From Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB).
  • Family Court Support Worker Program - Provides direct support to victims of domestic violence who are involved in the family court process. From the Ministry of the Attorney General.
Last updated: July 6, 2020 4001341