Domestic Violence

Family violence

Family violence is any violent or threatening behaviour by a family member toward another family member, that is part of a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour, or that causes the other family member to fear for their own safety or for the safety of someone else. In the case of children, this includes direct and indirect exposure to that conduct.

Examples of family violence include:

  • actual or threatened physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • psychological or emotional abuse
  • cultural abuse
  • economic or financial abuse
  • threats to kill or harm any person or animal
  • killing or harming an animal
  • threats to damage property or actually damaging property

In family law proceedings, the abuse does not have to be considered a criminal offence to be considered family violence.

The violence might be meant to make a person feel:

  • scared
  • intimidated
  • humiliated
  • powerless

Family violence can be a one-time use of force, but it can often occur in a pattern. Several acts of violence that sound minor by themselves could be a pattern of abuse.

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