Relationship Violence

Many terms are used to describe the pattern of coercive and abusive tactics utilized by one partner in a relationship to gain power and control over the other partner: domestic violence, dating violence, battering, spouse abuse, and wife beating. Domestic and dating violence or relationship violence can take many forms, including physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse.

Physical Abuse                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

  • Pushing, shoving, slapping, punching, kicking, or strangling       Assault with a weapon (gun, knife, furniture)
  • Holding, tying down, or restraining
  • Leaving the partner in a dangerous place
  • Refusing to help when the partner is sick or injured
  • Withholding medicine or treatment from the partner

Psychological / Emotional Abuse

  • Threats of harm to partner or to oneself (suicide)
  • Intimidation (smashing things, destroying his/her property)
  • Physical and social isolation
  • Extreme jealousy and possessiveness
  • Degradation and humiliation
  • Manipulating partner or making partner feel guilty

Sexual Abuse

  • Forcing or attempting to force unwanted sexual acts
  • Pursuing sexual activity when the partner is not fully conscious or asleep
  • Intentionally causing physical pain during sex by using objects or weapons

Economic Abuse

  • Preventing partner from getting or keeping a job
  • Making partner ask or beg for money

The violent partner's behavior is intentional and designed to bring about a desired state of affairs in which the abused partner's will is subordinated to the will of the batterer. In most cases, the violence will increase in severity and frequency as time passes.

Safety Plan


If there is a risk that you could experience violence or abuse, having a safety plan is a way to increase your own and your children’s safety.  You do not have control over the abuser’s violence, nor can you always avoid violent incident; however you can increase your safety.  Do safety planning even if you don’t think the violence will continue.


Plan Ahead


  • Tell someone you trust about the abuse.
  • Ask neighbor to call the police if they hear fighting or screaming from your home.
  • Create an emergency escape plan.
  • Decide where you will go if you have to leave(shelter, friends, family).
  • A taxi will take you to the nearest shelter free of charge.
  • Always take your children with you.
  • Teach your children where to go for help.
  • Develop a code word with your children.
  • Teach your children how to call 911.
  • Call a crisis line to create a personal plan for you and your children.
  • Hide your cell phone, keys and extra money where you can access them quickly.
  • Pack a bag with clothing, medications, important documents for you and your children and leave it at a friend’s or family member’s home.
  • Develop a list of important phone numbers.
  • Call your local shelter to make arrangements for your pets.
  • Open a bank account in your own name but arrange for bank statement to be mailed to a safe address. 


During a violent incident:


  • Position yourself to get out quickly or to be near a phone.
  • Move to a space where the risk is lowest.  Stay away from the kitchen, bathroom or garage.
  • Call 911 during a violent incident and do not hang up the phone so the police can locate you.
  • When there is a violent incident make as much noise as you can, yell FIRE if necessary.
    After you have separated:
  • Call a local shelter for help with making your new home safer.
  • Have an unlisted telephone number.
  • Change the locks to your home.
  • Change your routine if possible - where and when  you shop, go for coffee, complete errands and banking.
  • Notify your place of employment, children’s school and daycare of your situation.
  • Be alert to your surroundings when at work, driving and when arriving at or leaving your home.
  • Keep a copy of terms and conditions for the person who abused you with you at all times. 
  • Notify police immediately if any of the terms have been broken.


Important Documents


Take a photocopy of the following items and store in a safe place.  Hide the originals in another place, if you can.


  • Passports, birth certificates, immigration papers, for all family members
  • School and vaccination records
  • Driver’s licence and registration
  • Medications, prescriptions, medical records for all family members
  • Social Assistance/ODSP identification
  • Work permits
  • Divorce papers, custody documentation, court orders, restraining orders, marriage certificate
  • Lease/rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book
  • Bank books
  • Insurance papers (health, disability, life, property)
  • Address/telephone book
  • Picture of spouse/partner
  • Health cards for yourself and family members
  • All cards you normally use e.g. credit cards, bank cards, phone, social insurance
  • Government of Ontario Senior’s Card
  • Native Person Status Card or documentation
  • Pension, RRSP, RRIF information
  • Tax returns
  • Copies of wills, trust agreements, power of attorney
  • Pay stubs

This information is by the American Bar Association from the Domestic Violence Safety Plan: Safety Tips for You and Your Family, a joint project of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section and the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence.”


If you are at risk and need additional information, please contact:


The Providence House


24-hour Advocacy




National Domestic Violence Hotline


1-800-787-3224 (TTY)