What is Family Violence? Or Domestic Violence?
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner or other family member.
If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around a family member - constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid harmful reactions or harmful behaviours - chances are your relationship is unhealthy & abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include someone who belittles you or tries to control you; actively creates feelings of self-loathing, helplessness & desperation; and/or harms/assaults you.
Abuse can take many forms - physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual and/or cultural.
The bottom line is that abusive behaviour is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected and safe.
If you or someone you know is being abused (or you suspect abuse) & you want to talk, advice, & local options, please reach out to Alberta's Abuse Helpline (available M-F from 7:30 am to 8 pm) @ 1-855-4HELPAB (1-855-443-5722). For 24 Hour crisis lines, please refer to our Info & Resources tab.
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
We define family violence and bullying from a distilled understanding of gender based violence and the collective agencies with work with in the sector of family violence including CIAFV and Sagesse. Because we also serve those impacted by bullying, our definitions are inclusive of all these terms:
Family Violence describes a pattern of abusive behaviours within any relationship that is characterized by intimacy, dependency and/or trust. These abusive behaviours are employed to either induce, gain, or maintain power, control and/or to instil fear. All forms of abusive behaviour are ways in which one human being is trying to have control and/or exploit or have power over another.
"Your abuser's trauma does not justify them abusing you."
It can include punching, hitting, slapping, kicking, strangling, or physically restraining a partner against their will. It can also include driving recklessly, invading your physical space, & in any other way making you feel physically unsafe.
Emotional manipulation through verbal & physical humiliation, threats, mind games, extreme jealousy, cruel behaviour & constant accusations are all methods of verbal & emotional abuse.
It can involve rape or other forced sexual acts, or withholding or using sex as a weapon. Unwanted or non-consensual touching as well as using guilt or other forms of manipulation to force sexual acts are all categorized as sexual abuse.
Being withheld from having money, a job, your own bank accounts, or a say in your own finances is a form of abuse that provides the abuser with additional control & will often prevent someone from having the means to leave.
When someone, through a series of actions or words, wears away at your sense of mental wellbeing and health. It often involves making you doubt their own sanity & can include gas-lighting, creating dependency, & isolating you from supports.
When your particular cultural identity is used to inflict suffering, or as a means of control. Not letting you observe your faith, using racial slurs, threatening to ‘out’ you to friends/ family, or isolating you when you don't speak the language.
Having medical treatment, health care or medications withheld from you; deliberately keeping you ill or from recovery or controlling your reproductive agency over your own body is a form of abuse that will often prevent someone from having the ability to leave or recover from injury or illness.
When someone uses technology, social media, & other online tools to harass, stalk, manipulate, blackmail or otherwise inflict retaliatory actions against you. This can include keeping track of you through your phone's GPS, posting compromising pictures of you online, bullying you through social media.
Court/Using Legal System
When someone deliberately uses the courts or legal proceedings to further harass or control you. This may include deliberately dragging out proceedings, refusing to engage in mediation, going against court orders, filing nuisance motions, and/or using contact orders to harass you.
"Abusive people feel a surge of power when they discover a weakness. They exploit it, using it to gain more power." - Christina Enevoldsen
An abusive relationship can include any or all of these types of behaviours, sustained over a period of time and often escalating.
If you or someone you care about is experiencing this and you want to talk to someone about your concerns, please call or email us.
If you or someone you care about is in immediate danger, please call 911.
We do not accept
With a small team, we are simply not staffed to meet the needs of drop in clients. Please call or email to make an appointment with an intake worker. Thank you.
Appointments to access our services
The best and most direct way to access our services is to call or email us. We do require informed consent which we share with you during our intake process.
Who can we offer services to?
We serve residents of St Albert, Sturgeon County, Parkland County & the surrounding areas. At this time, we are not able to provide counselling services to Edmonton , Spruce Grove, & Stony Plain residents.