Many people think of physical abuse when they think of family violence, but family violence can occur in many different ways. Family violence happens when one family member uses their power to control another person who is now, or was, in their family. It can involve physical abuse, and also mental and verbal abuse, put-downs, harassment, stalking, or controlling the finances or activities of another family member. Sexual abuse, exploitation and coercion are also forms of family violence. Exposing children to intimate partner violence is a form of abuse. Anyone can be the victim of family violence, but children and dependent adults are the most vulnerable. Abuse is wrong regardless of the relationship.
Many forms of family violence, such as physical or sexual abuse, threats, harassment and stalking, are against the law. If you or a family member is experiencing abuse, the police in your neighborhood can help. A person who does any of these things to a family member may be charged under the Criminal Code of Canada. If you are involved in the family court process, speak with your lawyer or court staff if you have experienced any form of family violence.
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