Get help: you're in an abusive relationship

  • Are you being abused?
  • What if you're living with a partner using violence
  • If you're thinking of leaving: make a plan
  • Get help after you've left
  • When the police are involved
  • When your partner is charged

You're not responsible for the abusive actions of another person. You never ask or choose to be abused.

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  1. Are you being abused?

    What is domestic violence?

    Domestic violence is also called:

    • family violence;
    • abusive relationships;
    • intimate partner violence; or
    • spousal assault.

     

    There are many types of abuse, including:

    • psychological, emotional, and verbal abuse;
    • physical abuse/confinement;
    • financial abuse;
    • sexual abuse;
    • cultural/spiritual abuse;
    • abuse towards property/pets; and
    • neglect.

    Many types of abuse are crimes. Some examples include:

    • physical assault;
    • sexual assault;
    • threats to harm or kill you;
    • harassment;
    • stealing your paycheque; or
    • stalking.

    Who experiences abuse?

    People who experience abuse:

    • are from different backgrounds;
    • have different levels of education and income;
    • can have disabilities;
    • are all ages, including Elders;
    • are all genders;
    • are all races; and
    • are all cultures.

    Some people experience more frequent and serious forms of domestic violence, such as Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Some people also face different barriers to get help or to report the violence.

    Abuse can happen in different kinds of relationships:

    • between partners – married, common-law, dating or separated; and
    • among different family members, including toward Elders.

    Are you a victim of abuse?

    Does your partner or other significant person:

    • Get jealous when you’re around other people?
    • Make fun of you in front of your friends and family?
    • Destroy, or threaten to destroy, your possessions?
    • Praise you 1 minute and put you down the next?
    • Call you names or threaten you?
    • Ignore you or not take you seriously?
    • Make you choose between them and your friends/family?
    • Blame you when things go wrong?
    • Push you around or hit you?
    • Threaten to take the children?
    • Say abuse is wrong but hit the walls and yell at you?
    • Gaslight you or play "mind games".

    Do you have to:

    • Ask permission to spend money or go out?
    • "Make things right" for them?
    • Do what they want?
    • Check in if you go anywhere?
    • Apologize for "making them hurt you"?

    Do you feel:

    • Isolated from friends, family and activities?
    • Afraid to make decisions for fear of their reaction or anger?
    • They are trying to run your life?
    • Afraid to tell them if you have a good time?
    • All the terrible things they say about you are coming true or happening?
    • You have to put your dreams and goals on hold?
    • Afraid to express your own opinions or say "no" to something?
    • Trapped, unable to go out without their permission?
    • Your joy in your life diminishing?
    • Fear to break up with or leave them?

    If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you may be experiencing abuse.

    Children experiencing domestic violence

    Children and youth can be victims of abuse. They can be affected by seeing and hearing the violence done by, or to, a parent, caregiver or family member.

    Parenting and protecting your children

    • Talk to your children about what's going on.
    • Help them understand they're not to blame for the adults not getting along. Assure them that the abusive behaviour is not their fault.
    • Make sure your children know what they need to do when you decide to leave, or if you need to leave quickly.

    Find out how to help a child victim of crime.

    Find a women's shelter

    Make a safety plan with your children

  2. What if you're living with a partner using violence

    Unless an abuser is committed to changing their abusive behaviours, in most cases the abuse tends to get worse.

    Talk about what you're going through

    It takes courage to reach out for help, but know you're not alone. A lot of abused partners find it helpful to talk to someone they trust.

    • Phone Victim Services, we can help you learn about your options. You don’t have to report the crime to use our services.
    • Phone a crisis line to talk with a Transition Home support worker.
    • Phone VictimLink 1-800-563-0808 to talk to a support worker.

    Know how to get help in an emergency

    If you have to act quickly, be prepared.

    If you can get to the phone, dial 911. You do not have to be afraid for your life to get help. If you're worried you're about to be hurt, tell the 911 operator.

    • Know where you’ll go in an emergency and how you’ll get there.
    • If you want to go to a women's shelter, know its phone number and location.
    • Make arrangements with friends or family so that you can stay with them if necessary.
    • Create a code word with your children and/or friends so they know to call for help.
    • Create a telephone list with numbers of local police, the nearest women’s shelter, crisis help line, family members, counsellors and children’s friends.
    • Teach your children how to make a collect phone call to you and to special friends or family if your partner takes the children.
    • Teach your children how to use the phone to contact the police and the fire department.
    • Plan and know your emergency exits well; teach these to your children.
    • If you have pets, you might need to make arrangements for them. Victim Services or a women's shelter may be able to help you find options.

    Make a safety plan

    Develop a safety plan for you and your children in case you need to leave quickly. Or, if you're planning to leave the relationship.

    A safety plan involves having important identification, documents and emergency money in a safe and easy to access place.

    Get help to escape a violent situation.

    If you or your partner are new to Canada:

    Phone the line for victims of abuse and forced marriage at Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC ). Phone: 1-888-242-2100 and choose option 6.

    • IRCC can provide information and help you weigh your options.
    • You don't have to give your name when you phone.

    Document the abuse

    Consider documenting the abuse, it could be useful later.

    • Be sure to keep your record hidden and only write things down when it's safe to do so.
    • Write down the time, date, place and circumstances of the abuse.
    • Ask witnesses to write down what they saw, too.
    • Photograph any injuries you may experience.
    • Keep copies of any threatening messages, letters, texts or emails.
    • Provide all the information to the RCMP if you're reporting to the police.

    Treatment options

    People who are abusive can get help if they want to make the choice to stop using violence.

  3. If you're thinking of leaving: make a plan

    You might decide to leave an abusive situation in an emergency, or at any time. You might choose to leave for a while or for good. Whatever you choose to do, believe in yourself.

    • Get support.
    • Talk to someone you trust.
    • Talk to Victim Services.

    Victim service workers are trained to counsel people who've been, or are being, abused.

    Know how to get help in an emergency

    If you have to act quickly, be prepared.

    If you can get to the phone, dial 911. You do not have to be afraid for your life to get help. If you're worried you're about to be hurt, tell the 911 operator.

    • Know where you’ll go in an emergency and how you’ll get there.
    • If you want to go to a women's shelter, know its phone number and location.
    • Make arrangements with friends or family so that you can stay with them if necessary.
    • Create a code word with your children and/or friends so they know to call for help.
    • Create a telephone list with numbers of local police, the nearest women’s shelter, crisis help line, family members, counsellors and children’s friends.
    • Teach your children how to make a collect phone call to you and to special friends or family if your partner takes the children.
    • Teach your children how to use the phone (landline or cell) to contact the police and the fire department.
    • Plan and know your emergency exits well; teach these to your children.
    • If you have pets, you might need to make arrangements for them. Victim Services or a women's shelter can help you find options.

    Make a plan

    Develop a safety plan for you and your children in case you need to leave quickly. Or, if you're planning to leave the relationship.

    A safety plan involves having important identification, documents and emergency money in a safe and easy to access place.

    Get help to escape a violent situation.

    If you or your partner are new to Canada:

    Phone the line for victims of abuse and forced marriage at Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC ). Phone: 1-888-242-2100 and choose option 6.

    • IRCC can provide information and help you weigh your options.
    • You don't have to give your name when you phone.
  4. Get help after you've left

    Once you've left

    Some of the 1st things you might need to deal with are:

    • your legal rights;
    • child custody;
    • money; and
    • housing.

    Victim Services and other support services can help you find out about your options.

    Victim Services can:

    • help you understand how the criminal justice system works, if you become involved with it;
    • connect you with information about getting a lawyer and other family law issues; and
    • connect you with other services and agencies for housing or financial assistance.

    If the abuse continues

    Abusive behaviour does not always stop when you leave.

    The abuser may try to control you:

    • financially;
    • through the children;
    • through the courts;
    • through physical abuse;
    • with threats; or
    • with harassment.

    If they've been charged:

    The abuser may be breaking conditions of a no contact order.

    Keep track of:

    • what they do or say; and
    • any written or recorded messages they leave for you.

    Tell these people if the person is breaking conditions:

    • the police;
    • the person's probation officer or bail supervisor (if they have 1); and
    • Victim Services

    If the police are not involved:

    Other things you can do:

    If you're a tenant of Yukon Housing

    You can ask to move from your housing unit. Victim Services, women's shelters or other support organization can write a support letter.

    If you decide to go back

    Leaving an abusive partner is difficult and you might need their support for many reasons such as:

    • housing;
    • money;
    • physical and mental health; and
    • children.

    Victim Services will continue working with you wherever you are in your journey.

    It can take many attempts for a person to leave for good when a partner is using violence. You're not alone and there's help available.

    Treatment options

    People who are abusive can get help if they want to make the choice to stop using violence.

  5. When the police are involved

    It’s illegal for anyone to assault you. If you phone 911, the RCMP have to come to you. If a neighbour thinks an assault is happening they might call the RCMP.

    What happens when the RCMP arrive

    The police will:

    • do what they can to stop any abuse that’s happening;
    • try to ensure your immediate safety; and
    • separately question you and the person using violence.

    The police will ask you to:

    • give a statement and tell them what happened;
    • give them details and show them your injuries or other damages done; and
    • tell them if there were any witnesses, neighbours or others who might know what's been going on.

    Gathering evidence

    If a charge is laid, the police will ask for your co-operation to collect evidence, such as:

    • audio or videotaped statement;
    • torn or bloody clothing;
    • any weapons used to harm or threaten you; and
    • any threatening messages, letters, texts, or emails.

    Will the police call Family and Children's Services?

    If children are present, the RCMP must contact Family and Children's Services because the children may be affected.

    Can you stay in your home?

    If you think it's safe to do so, you can decide to stay in your home.

    If you identify as a woman, the police may recommend that you go to a women's shelter. It's up to you.

    Apply for emergency financial help if you need to make repairs to make your house safe (repair a door or window, change your locks, etc.)

    If the police charged your partner, they will put them under conditions including:

    • no contact with you; and
    • to not go to your home or place of work or education.

    Find out what happens when a charge is laid.

    If you're hurt

    • Go to the doctor, hospital or community nursing station.
    • Make sure the staff document your injuries.
    • RCMP will ask you for signed consent to obtain medical information.
    • The police will want to take photos of your injuries or any damages in the home.

    Bruises may show up days later. The RCMP will want to take pictures at that time. They should contact you, but if not, contact the RCMP to have pictures taken.

    Getting support

    The RCMP will refer you to Victim Services. If you want, the RCMP will give us your contact number and we will contact you. It’s your choice.

    If you identify as a woman, the police may also refer you to a women's shelter. These and other services can provide you with information and emotional support.

    How can you get back in your house?

    If you left the family home after your partner was charged, it can be difficult to get back in.

    • Contact Victim Services to find out about your options.
    • Apply for a victim assistance order to have the abusive partner removed from the family home.
    • If you want to get your belongings without moving back into the house, you can ask that the RCMP to accompany you.
    • Apply for emergency financial help if you need to make repairs to make your house safe (repair a door or window, change your locks, etc.)

    Can you ask the police not to charge your partner?

    In domestic abuse situations, you do not decide if a charge is laid; the police do.

    The victim cannot get the charges removed or dropped. This prevents the person using violence from pressuring or threatening the victim to "drop the charges".

    Contact Victim Services to learn about your options within the court process.

  6. When your partner is charged

    Assault is a crime. The police must lay charges if there's evidence that either partner has been physically assaulted.

    You do not decide if a charge is laid; the police do.

    If the police charge someone, they will usually:

    • arrest; and
    • remove the person from the house.

    If you or your partner are new to Canada

    Your phone call to the police:

    • does not mean the abusive person will be automatically deported; and
    • if you do not speak English, the RCMP will make every effort to find an interpreter.

    Phone the line for victims of abuse and forced marriage at Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC ). Phone: 1-888-242-2100 and choose option 6.

    • IRCC can provide information and help you weigh your options.
    • You do not have to give your name when you phone.

    Will your partner go to jail?

    When the police lay charges, they have 2 options:

    • release the accused with a promise to appear for a court appearance; or
    • take the accused into custody and do not release unless they are granted bail at a bail hearing.

    Promise to appear

    Before the accused is released, they'll have to sign a promise to appear. This means the accused has to appear in court on a set date.

    It usually includes a no-contact order. This condition means the person:

    • cannot contact you; and
    • stays away from your home, place of work and/or school.
    • the accused might also have to report to a bail supervisor.

    Bail hearing

    The accused might be taken into custody and not released unless granted bail at a bail hearing.

    What if the accused will be released?

    Ask the police:

    • to let you know when the person is being released; and
    • if there are any conditions of their release.

    What if the accused contacts you?

    It's illegal for the accused to violate the no-contact order. If they break any of the conditions, report it to the RCMP.

    Victim Services can help you understand your options in the court process.

    Going to court

    If your partner is charged with spousal assault, they'll usually make their 1st court appearance in the Domestic Violence Treatment Option.

    If the abuser takes responsibility:

    • they plead guilty; and
    • they can apply to enter the Domestic Violence Treatment Option court.

    It provides people charged with domestic violence:

    • assessment;
    • counselling
    • support; and
    • supervision.

    If the abuser does not take responsibility:

    • they plead not guilty;
    • they cannot get involved in Domestic Violence Treatment Option; and
    • they will be involved in the regular court process.

    What if you want the charges dropped?

    In domestic abuse situation, you don’t decide if a charge is laid; the police do.

    The victim cannot get the charges removed or dropped. This prevents the person using violence from pressuring or threatening the victim to "drop the charges".

    Contact Victim Services to learn about your options within the court process.

    What if you want contact with your partner?

    Contact Victim Services to learn about your options.


Contact 

Victim Services

In person (no appointment needed). Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Email: victim.services@gov.yk.ca

Whitehorse

Phone: 867-667-8500, toll free 1-800-661-0408, extension 8500
301 Jarvis Street, 2nd floor

Dawson City

Phone: 867-993-5831
813B 3rd Avenue

Watson Lake

Phone: 867-536-2541
820 Adela Trail