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Domestic Violence

Abuse or violence in a relationship can take many forms and has many names - spousal abuse, wife abuse, and family violence are just a few.

Domestic Violence is any form of violent or abusive behaviour that happens during a relationship or after a relationship ends. It is not just limited to physical or sexual violence but exists on a continuum that can include intimidation, mental or emotional abuse, financial exploitation, stalking and harassment.

While it is more common that women experience domestic violence, it also happens to individuals in same-sex relationships and to male victims within heterosexual relationships where the dynamic of power and control is present. Children may also become victims of domestic violence either by directly experiencing abuse themselves or by witnessing domestic violence in the home. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, help is available through victim services and other resources.

To learn more about Domestic Violence, see the Help Starts Here infosheet.

What to do next?

  • If you or your children are not in a safe place, go to one. To find a transition house or safe home, look in your phone book under emergency numbers, or call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808.
  • If you or your children are in immediate danger or need urgent medical attention, contact the police or ambulance services, by calling 911 or the emergency number for your community.
  • If you want to contact the police but the situation is not urgent, call the non-emergency number for police in your community.
  • If you are hesitant or worried about calling the police, contact VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808 to find a victim service program nearest you for confidential and anonymous support and help.
  • Tell someone you trust what happened. If a friend or family member can provide emotional support or help you in practical ways, ask for help.
  • Go to a hospital, a walk-in clinic, or your doctor as soon as possible after being physically injured or sexually assaulted. Even if the assault is not recent, it may be important to go for a checkup.
  • If you have questions about domestic violence, or your rights, don’t hesitate to ask a victim service worker.


What resources are available?

VictimLink BC

VictimLink BC is a toll-free 24/7 information and support line that provides information and referrals to all victims of crime, and crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence, including sexual assault, violence in relationships, elder abuse, and adult survivors of physical or sexual abuse. VictimLink BC provides service in 110 languages, including 17 North American Aboriginal languages.

VictimLink BC can provide information for such services as:

  • Transition and Safe Homes: temporary shelter for women and their children who are fleeing abuse.
  • Second-stage Houses: longer-term housing following a stay in a transition or safe home.
  • Outreach Services: provides supportive counselling, information and referrals, and accompaniment and transportation to other necessary services.
  • Children Who Witness Abuse Counselling: helps children who have witnessed abuse heal from the trauma and learn about healthy relationships.
  • Stopping the Violence Counselling: helps women who have experienced assault or abuse deal with the trauma of the experience.
  • Phone: toll free 1-800-563-0808, 24 hours every day
  • TTY (Teletypewriter): through Information Services Vancouver TTY service at (604) 875-0885 (collect calls accepted)
  • Multilingual

Crime Victim Assistance Program

Crime Victim Assistance Program provides financial benefits to assist victims, immediate family members, and witnesses in dealing with the affects of violent crime.

Victim Safety Unit

Victim Safety Unit allows victims of crime and persons protected by a Family Relations Act restraining order to register for ongoing notification about the status of an adult accused/offender and financial assistance to travel to justice proceedings.

HealthlinkBC

HealthLinkBC is a gateway to non-emergency health information and services. A phone service, website and print resource provides an expanded health navigation system, access to advice from healthcare professionals and enables community members to look up symptoms and services.

  • Website: www.healthlinkbc.ca
  • Phone: dial 8-1-1, nurses are available to answer questions 24 hours every day
  • TTY: dial 7-1-1
  • Translation services are available in over 130 languages on request

Helpline for Children

Helpline for Children is a toll free phone service staffed by social workers who can provide help and answer questions regarding reports of child abuse or neglect.

  • Phone: 310-1234 (no area code required), 24 hours every day
  • TTD (Telephone Device for the Deaf): 1-866-660-0505

Qmunity Resource Centre

Qmunity Resource Centre provides counselling, resources, programs and peer support to the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual communities.  Qmunity also operates Prideline, a peer support, information and referral helpline.

  • Phone: (604) 684-5307
  • Prideline: (604) 684-6869 or toll free, 1-800-566-1170
  • Website:http://www.qmunity.ca

Lawyer Referral Services

The Lawyer Referral Service enables the public to access lawyers practicing in the field of law required for the particular situation and provides the opportunity to have a consultation with a lawyer for a fee.

Legal Services Society (LawLINE)

LawLINE provides general legal information and, in some cases, advice about legal issues to people who need a lawyer but do not qualify for legal aid.

  • Phone: (604) 408-2172 or toll free 1-866-577-2525
  • TTY (Teletypewriter): (604) 601-6236 or toll free 1-877-991-2299

Did You Know?

Transition houses or safe homes provide temporary housing in a safe, secure environment for women and their children leaving abusive relationships. A transition house (or safe home) will provide:

  • a safe place for you and your children
  • food and other necessities
  • temporary shelter
  • support in getting financial, medical or legal help
  • emotional help and counselling.

To find a transition house or a safe home in your area call VictimLink BC 1-800-563-0808.For a list of Aboriginal shelters in Canada visit National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence.

You can also use Shelter Net to find a shelter anywhere in Canada. This service is provided in ten different languages.

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