When home is no longer, help is available

SAFETY ALERT: If you are in danger, please use a computer in a safe place, or call 911. You can leave this site quickly by clicking on Quick Escape (note: this does not clear your browser history).

Note: If you have experienced family violence and are using a computer that is shared with your abuser, use extreme caution to clear your browser history when you are finished visiting this site. If you do not know how to clear your browser, search the help available for your particular browser or use a public computer if possible.

If you are in an abusive relationship, or you know someone who may be, call 1-877-977-0007 or text 204-792-5302 or 204-805-6682.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

How to Support a Family Member or Friend

Many people who live with family violence donít tell others or ask for help. Most often, the only way family and friends know that somethingís wrong is by recognizing the signs of family violence:

  • frequent injuries from what the victim calls ďaccidentsĒ
  • 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, gambling
  • expressed fear of partner
  • partnerís jealousy or possessiveness
  • constant criticism from partner

If you know or suspect that a family member or friend is living with family violence:

  • Let them know that the abuse is NOT their fault.
  • Be supportive and listen.
  • Let them know there is help available and help them find resources.
  • Do not give up on them, even if they are not accepting of help at first.

Note: Resources and services for people living with family violence are voluntary. If you call an agency for help on behalf of a family member or friend, the agency will give you suggestions on how to assist your loved one. Agencies cannot help victims unless they are willing to accept help. People caught in the cycle of violence often reject help at first. Donít force them into getting help. Be supportive and give them the time they need to want outside help.

Neighbours, Families and Friends:
A Guide on Helping People in Abusive Relationships (PDF)

Tips for talking to someone who is being abused

  • Speak to the person being abused alone, in a safe, private place.
  • Discuss options, and encourage the person to make their own decisions. Telling the person being abused that they "have to do" something only takes away more of their power.
  • Encourage the person being abused to call the province-wide domestic violence information/crisis line (1-877-977-0007), or to speak with other support services.
  • Suggest that they develop a safety plan in case of emergency (for help doing so, call the domestic violence information/crisis line at 1-877-977-0007).
  • Encourage the person being abused to be cautious about using computers, text messaging, etc. as the abusive person may be monitoring their online activities.
  • Offer to help in ways that you are comfortable with and feel safe doing. Be clear with yourself and the person being abused about what kind of support you can give.
  • Avoid making negative comments about the abusive person. Otherwise, the person being abused may feel the need to defend them and minimize the abuse.
  • Respect their privacy. Keep the information confidential unless the person being abused specifically asks you to talk to someone about it, or if you are required to do so by law (if a person under 18 years old is being abused or is at risk).
    • If child abuseis a concern, immediately contact the province-wide intake and emergency after-hours child and family services line at 1-866-345-9241.
  • Respect their decision if they do not want to talk about the abuse. They may be afraid, ashamed or just not ready to discuss it. It may take some time for them to feel safe and ready to talk about their situation.
  • Don't confront the abusive person - this may place you and person being abused in greater danger. If you feel that someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or the local number for police.
  • Be patient and continue to offer support. Leaving a relationship is often a process, not an event.

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If you are in an abusive relationship, or you know someone who may be, call 1-877-977-0007 or text 204-792-5302 or 204-805-6682.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.