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First, please read Domestic Violence: Namrata, Turning Violence into Hope, in Canadian Newcomer Magazine:
Live Safe—End Abuse: Safety Planning
Getting Help From The Police
In Canada, the police are part of the community, and their job is to protect people in their community. They are separate from the government and the military.
Please listen to and read The Role of the Police, CBC Manitoba EAL Lesson #45.
The People’s Law School
The People’s Law School offers free public legal education and information. It has videos in the following languages about
how Canadian law defines family or domestic violence in Canada:
YWCA Outreach Services:
Provides a mobile response to women and their dependant children who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing abuse. This program serves Kamloops and communities in the surrounding area.
The YMCA offers information about leaving an abusive relationship in the following languages:
Home Can Be A Dangerous Place
The Westcoast Reader, March 1995
Wife abuse is common in many countries of the world. Abused women and their husbands can be young or old, rich or poor. They can have many years of school or just a few. They can live in big cities or small towns.
Many men in Canada abuse their wives. In a recent study, 29% of women in Canada said that their husbands or boyfriends abused them.
Wife abuse is always wrong. Some kinds of wife abuse are against the law in Canada. The police, the government and community groups are working together to help abused women.
Y Women’s Emergency Shelter
• Provides a safe, supportive refuge for women, with or without children, who have experienced or at risk of abuse, threats or violence
• Offers residential or phone support 24/7
• Help with the legal, health, employment, housing, immigration and social services systems
• Provides referrals to other agencies or other Transition Houses in Canada
In Kamloops, the Y Women’s Emergency Shelter is a safe place for women who are escaping violence.
Children Who Witness Abuse Program
Many children are at home when their fathers abuse their mothers. Children who see abuse might have problems at school. Boys might learn that it is okay to hit a girl. Girls might learn that it is okay for boys or men to hit them.
• A community-based program to break the cycle of abuse that continues from one generation to the next
• Provides both group and individual counseling for children and youth, ages 5-19
• Provides individual support, parent education and groups for non-offending caregivers
• Offers Changing the Cycle, a support group for caregivers of children who have witnessed abuse.
Changing the Cycle is a free parent support drop-in group for any non-offending parents or caregivers of any child who has witnessed or experienced any type of abuse. The group is a place to gather information, meet with others who have gone through similar experiences, or simply, just to talk. Parent and child activities will be discussed and planned within the group. If needed, free childcare is available. For more information or to register, please call Linda at 250-376-7800.
Location: DOWNTOWN Y
Wednesdays, 10:00 – 11:30 am
• Offers SAAVI (SISTERS ALLIED AGAINST VIOLENCE), an Art Therapy group for girls ages 13-16 who have witnessed abuse
HOME ALONE (10+ years)
Are you thinking of letting your child have a little more responsibility? This course teaches important skills through interactive lessons that will help both you and your child feel confident he or she is home alone. Parents will be required to attend the last 1/2 hour of the program.
Unit E, 1420 Hugh Allan Drive
Wednesday, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Some people who immigrate to Canada become extremely sad or upset about their work or home situation. If you are in a crisis, then call Distress Phone Services: 1-866-661-3311, or 1-800-784-2433
You can also visit the Crisis Centre website: www.crisiscentre.bc.ca or www.CrisisCenreChat.ca.
- Emergency Shelters in your phone book.
Transition houses help women (with or without children). They are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They give safe, free, temporary shelter, usually up to 30 days. You can get food and clothing. You can also get help to find counselling, and can talk to a worker about finding a place to live, money and legal problems.
If you have access to a computer, then you can find a list of short-term and emergency housing options that is organized by community:
Domestic violence usually occurs in a cycle of behavior. For facts about violence against women, go to:
www.canadianwomen.org/facts-about-violence. The cycle of abuse has four phases:
1. Build-Up Phase:
The cycle begins with stress about a job, money or bills. The abuser feels powerless. Stress builds up in the abuser. Abusers act out toward victims with name-calling, insults or accusations. An abuser might threaten his wife. For example, he might say, “I’ll take the kids” or “I’ll send you back to your country.” He might break her things, call her names, say that she is having sex with other men, or not let her go out alone or see her family and friends.
He might give his wife very little money for food, clothing and other things, take her paycheques or not let her work outside the home.
This behavior might last for days, weeks or months.
2. Act-Out Phase:
The tension that is building up in the abuser leads to action. This action may involve severe verbal abuse, threats or a violent physical or sexual attack towards another person. This abusive behavior happens over and over.
He might hit his wife, slap her, pull her hair or break her arm, finger or other bones.
He might force his wife to have sex with him or make her do sexual things that she does not like.
3. Rationalize/ Justify Phase:
After committing a violent act, abusers often blame other people or use excuses to justify their actions. They try to convince the victim that the incident was her fault or wasn’t serious. This behavior is like a honeymoon. However, the husband abuses his wife, and it often gets worse.
4. Pretend That Everything Is Normal Phase:
Once the abuser has justified or rationalized his/her abusive actions, and the victim accepts the abuser’s story of what happened, both partners pretend that the relationship is back to normal. But if the abuse isn’t named and handled through counseling, then the behavior cycle begins again.
Domestic or family violence is part of every culture, ethnicity and income group.
In Canada, domestic violence or threats to commit domestic violence are crimes. It is important to prevent and stop the cycle of abuse. Many families are affected by domestic abuse. Immigrant women who are affected by family violence have special problems. For example, they may be isolated from other people, or the abuser may tell them that they will be deported and their children will be taken away.
Information on immigrant women and family violence can be found at:
When a person
- threatens another person,
the behavior is called abuse. Abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional or sexual. In Canada, all violence or threats of violence are against the law. The police can arrest someone who attacks or threatens to attack (assault) another person.
There are two telephone numbers for the police. One is for emergencies when immediate action is required.
The other is for situations that are not emergencies. If you or someone is in danger, or if a serious crime has just happened, then call 9-1-1. The call to 9-1-1 is free, even from a pay phone.
Do not program 9-1-1 into any telephone, because speed dials lead to accidental 9-1-1 calls. If you dial 9-1-1 accidentally, then stay on the line and tell us. If you hang up, then we do not know if you are okay.
Know your address in English, if possible. Learn the words, police, fire and ambulance, in English. Teach these words to your children to help them use 9-1-1 if necessary. Keep your address information near the phone. Show your children and caregivers where the address information is.
Never give old cell phones to children to use as toys, because they can still dial 9-1-1.
Stay on the line and follow instructions. The 9-1-1 call-taker will stay on the line with you. Listen carefully, speak clearly and try to stay calm. The call-takers are trained to ask particular questions in order.
The number to call for situations that are not emergencies is: 250-828-3000.
Abuse happens in families. The person can be:
- common-law wife or husband, or
Children, parents, sisters, grandparents, brothers, and in-laws are also family members.
- a person hits another person (adult or child)
- a person kicks another person (adult or child)
- a person uses a weapon to hurt another person (adult or child).
There are many types of abuse. For example,
- a person does not allow another person leave the house
- a person threatens to take away immigration sponsorship from another person (if you are a permanent resident of Canada, then you will not be deported if you leave an abusive family situation)
- a person does not allow another person get a job
- a person does not allow another person keep a job
- a person requires another person to work too many jobs
- a person does not allow another person get job training
- a person does not allow another person have money
- a person does not allow another person practice his or her religion
- a person uses religion to hurt or control another person
are all types of abuse. In addition,
- a person who forces another person to have sex is sexual abuse, even if he is a spouse or husband, a relative, or a friend. Even if the assault happened in the past, you can call the RCMP to report it at: 250-828-3000.
If you have been sexually assaulted, then call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808. They will help you to visit a doctor, talk to a counselor, report the assault to the police, and get other support services. You can visit: www.victimlinkbc.ca.
You can call the Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre 24 hours a day: 1-877-392-7583.
Women who are:
- leaving an abusive relationship
can call the Y Women’s Emergency Shelter Outreach Services in Kamloops:
You can also visit the website: www.kamloopsy.org/vawiss.htm.
If you are in crisis, then you can also call the Kamloops Urgent Response Team and talk to a counselor:
Phone: 250-377-0088 after business hours and on weekends
A Personal Safety Plan for Yourself and Your Children
Make a safety plan if your partner has been abusive in the past, and prepare for the possibility of future violence. A safety plan helps you and your children to move to a safe place. The following plan has been adapted from the Manitoba government’s family violence prevention website: www.gov.mb.ca/fs/fvpp/planning.html
Sometimes you and your children may be in danger because of an abusive partner. You can make yourself and your children a safety plan that will help you go to a safe place if you are at risk. Be prepared. Plan ahead. Where will you go? What will you take if you need to leave your home?
Each safety plan is unique, because each person’s circumstances are unique. The most important thing is your safety and the safety of your children. Here are some things to think about and some steps to follow:
1) Notice the abuser’s behavior signs that tell you that an assault will happen soon.
Every abusive person has a different set of behavior signs that indirectly tells her/his partner that an incident will happen soon. Be aware of these “signs.” They can help people who are in an abusive relationship know when they will be in danger.
2) Notice things that the abuser can use to hurt you.
Be aware of where guns, knives and other weapons are stored.
Find “safe places” where there are fewer dangerous things. Try to stay out of the kitchen, garage or workshop.
3) Find people who can help you.
Tell someone you can trust about the abuse. Tell your boss, supervisor, friends, teacher and/or family about your situation.
Discuss protection planning with your children. Agree with them on a code word so they will know when and how to call for help.
4) Decide on a safe place where you can go with your children.
A safe place might be:
- the home of a friend or relative,
- a hotel, or any other place in which you can be safe.
If you cannot leave your home, then is there a room or area of your home where you can be safe?
5) Decide how you will get to a safe place.
Decide what kind of transportation you will use to get to a safe place. If you have a car, then hide a spare key and keep a full tank of gas.
If not, who can help you get to your place of safety? The police or Domestic Abuse Crisis Line may be able to help you plan your transportation.
6) Decide how you will escape from your home if an attack will happen soon.
Find out if there is a door or window that you can use for escape, if necessary, and whether your children can also be taken out through these exits.
Make sure that once you leave the home, you know immediately where to go. Memorize any emergency numbers you may need (i.e., crisis shelter, police, social worker, etc.)
7) Decide what to take when you leave.
Do not stay behind to take any belongings if it endangers you or your children.
If possible, do not leave your children. If you are in immediate danger and need to leave them, return as soon as possible, with the police if necessary.
If you are not in immediate danger, then you should pack the following useful items:
Identification for you and your children, such as:
• birth certificates,
• your social insurance card,
• driver’s license and registration,
• immigration papers (including citizenship card),
• British Columbia medical services card and children’s immunization records
In addition, take:
- An extra set of keys for the apartment, house or car
- Small bank notes and change for taxis and telephone calls
- Divorce and custody papers
- Restraining orders, peace bonds and any other orders
- Bank statement, cheque book, credit cards, mortgage or loan papers
- Lease/rental agreement, property deed, business or your partnership agreements, rent or mortgage payment receipts
- Photograph of the partner for identification
• your mortgage or lease, or
• information about loans or bank assets that you have,
• a copy of a protection order, custody orders
Credit cards, ATM/debit card, checks, bank book
Keys: for your house, car and safety deposit box (if you have one)
Personal items: clothing and toiletries
Medications that you or your children are taking
Things for your children: clothing, favourite toys, medicine, diapers or bottles
• Put some money away in a safe place, a little at a time.
• Keep a list of important phone numbers.
• Change your computer passwords and telephone PIN numbers to ensure that confidential information remains secure.
• If you suspect that your computer activities are being monitored, then consider using a safer computer (for example: a public library or Internet Càfe). Some domestic violence websites have a “quick exit” button that you can use to get off the website quickly.
• Get a court order of protection.
• Teach your children how to contact police.
BEFORE YOU RETURN TO YOUR HOME, MAKE SURE IT IS SAFE TO DO SO. BRING SOMEONE WITH YOU, IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT.
If an assault occurs or you are in immediate danger, then call 9-1-1.
The Dial-A-Law website (www.dialalaw.org) has a library of practical legal information and the following scripts in English, Chinese and Punjabi:
#155, Family Violence
#112, Applying for a temporary order in a family lawsuit
#110, Family Court
#111, Mediation and Collaborative Family Law
#115, Separation and separation agreements
In Canada, the police have responsibilities:
• They respond to emergency calls
• They assist victims
• They respond to other calls from people for assistance
• They maintain public order
• They prevent crime
• They investigate crime
• They enforce criminal laws
• They enforce traffic laws
The RCMP website is: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/index-eng.htm
Immigrants have attitudes based on different experiences with police in their countries. Cultural ideas include attitudes towards:
- interpersonal relationships and
The increase in immigration to Canada has brought many challenges to police, as they learn about cultural attitudes of immigrants.
Canadians are used to seeing police in their communities. Some police are on foot patrol, horse patrol, vehicle patrol or at events. Many people feel safer when they can see the police in public places and their neighbourhoods. They believe that police on the streets help prevent criminal activities.
Call 911 to Report a Domestic Violence Incident and Get Help
The police can help if you are in an abusive situation. Dial 911 and they will be notified. Do you have the language that you need to give the information that the 911 operator will ask for? Practise providing information in the following sample role play.
911 Operator: Hello, this is 911. What is the nature of your emergency?
(For example, tell the operator you are being threatened or attacked by your spouse. Tell her or him that you and your children are in danger.)
911 Operator: Has anyone been hurt or injured?
(For example, tell the operator that you have a black eye or other injury, but otherwise, you and your children have not been hurt.)
911 Operator: Where is the attacker now? Does he have any kind of weapon?
(For example, tell the operator that he has left your home but you are afraid that he will return. You think that he may have a knife with him.)
911 Operator: What is your address?
(Tell the operator your address.)
911 Operator: What is your name?
(Tell the operator your name.)
911 Operator: What is your phone number?
(Tell the operator your phone number.)
911 Operator: The police are on their way. Here’s what I would like you to do…
Young people can contact the numbers below for support and information.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development has an emergency telephone number for children. If you or a child that you know needs help of any kind, any time of the day or night, then make a free call, including from a pay phone:
(no area code is needed) 310-1234.
Youth Against Violence Line
You can report crimes and violence, and get help. Anyone can call for information about gangs, bullying or other problems.
24/7 – in your language – anonymous – confidential
Young people can also visit: www.YouthInBC.com
Look at the www.learningandviolence.net website for more information:
• How To Take Care of Self;
• Making Changes:
• Personal Safety;
• The Impact of Violence on Learning (Too Scared To Learn);
• Believe in Yourself
For References, please go to the Kamloops Education section.
Kamloops Immigrant Services does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external website sources. Although we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy, currency and reliability of the content, Kamloops Immigrant Services accepts no responsibility in that regard. Informational materials are for educational purposes only, and are of general value.