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Frequently Asked Questions

What is family violence?

Family violence is actual or threatened physical or sexual violence, and / or psychological, emotional, and financial abuse directed toward a family member. It includes intimate partner abuse, as well as abuse that is directed at others in a family relationship, such as so-called honour-based violence. Family violence takes many different forms and includes:
  • physical abuse
  • mental and emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • intimidation and threats
It involves the abuse of power and the betrayal of trust and crosses all socio-economic, religious and cultural boundaries. Some of the common terms used to describe abuse from an intimate partner are:
  • family violence
  • domestic abuse
  • partner abuse

How do I know if it's happening to me?

It can be hard to realize you're caught in the cycle of abuse and it may be even harder to admit it to yourself or anyone else. You are living with family violence if someone close to you is:

  • hurting you physically
  • threatening to hurt you, your children, family members, or pets
  • forcing you to have sex or watch others have sex
  • constantly humiliating you, calling you names or insulting you
  • isolating you from friends and family
  • monitoring your e-mails, phone calls, Internet activity
  • denying your access to food, clothing, medication, any other basic needs
  • controlling your finances

What are some of the signs that someone I know is being abused?

Family violence is often hidden or down-played by the abused person and the abuser. Both will often claim it's a private matter. People who suspect a problem are often afraid to intervene. It's important to know some of the signs:

  • frequent injuries from what the victim claims are "accidents"
  • increased isolation from family and friends
  • jumpiness, depression or anxiety
  • loss or decrease in self-esteem as a result of the abuse
  • avoidance of any form of confrontation
  • dramatic change in manner, mood or physical appearance
  • excessive coping behaviours: over-eating, smoking, substance abuse, or gambling
  • expressed fear of family member
  • family member's jealousy or possessiveness
  • constant criticism from family member

Why don't victims just leave?

Many abused people do leave, but it is not always easy. The main reasons they stay are:
  • Fear of more violence and punishment. Research shows family violence often escalates when the abused person leaves the relationship. Some abusers repeatedly threaten to kill or seriously injure them if the abused person tries to leave.
  • "For the sake of their children". Abusers may threaten to hurt or take away the children.
  • Afraid to leave because they have no money and can't afford to support themselves or their children on their own.
  • Too humiliated about being in the situation and don't want anyone else to know.
  • In spite of the abuse, they still love their abuser and just want the abuse to stop.n spite of the abuse, they still love their abuser and just want the abuse to stop.

What kind of help is available in Manitoba?

There are many different programs available in Manitoba to help families living with family violence. The Family Violence Prevention Program Crisis Phone Line (at 1-877-977-0007, toll free) that can connect callers to all available services 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. They can also put callers in touch with any of the 35 agencies across Manitoba that provide help for people affected by family violence:
  • 10 women’s shelters that provide emergency shelter and counselling for women and children who are victims of family violence (also find accommodations for men who require a safe place).
  • A provincial toll free crisis line that automatically links you with the nearest shelter that will provide safety.
  • nine women’s resource centers that provide information and referral, individual counselling and support groups for women, as well as children's programming.
  • four residential second-stage housing programs that offer protective, affordable, long-term housing for women who leave an abusive relationship, but need more than just physical protection.
  • 14 specialized programs that provide individual counselling, open and closed support groups, longer term counselling, training for other service providers, public education, supervised access services for parents and their children and couples counselling.
  • services that respect cultural needs are available for Aboriginal, Francophone and immigrant women and children.

Do these services charge fees?

Some resources may have service fees.
  • all agencies and organizations listed on this website are free
  • all agencies funded through Family Violence Prevention Program provide free help
  • all Manitoba Justice, Victim Services programs provide free assistance and information, see Domestic Violence Support Service (DVSS)

Without help, abusive relationships only get WORSE.

Help is available

Contact one of the resources (see link below) for more information and find out how to create your own protection plan. If you are in an abusive relationship, or you know someone who may be, call 1-877-977-0007.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911


Where can I go for help?

How do I make a protection plan?