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Recognizing Abuse

Domestic abuse (family violence) is when one person in a relationship uses a pattern of behaviors to intentionally control or harm another person. It can happen in heterosexual, same-sex, common-law, separated/divorced and dating relationships. Family violence is present in homes, regardless of race, religion, age, income or education.

If you recognize any of the following behaviors in your relationship or think you may be experiencing abuse call us:

Local: 1-403-346-5643, Toll Free: 1-888-346-5643, Crisis Textline: 1-403-506-0485.

Many people think of family violence or abuse as simply physical: hitting, pushing, slapping, etc., but in fact it can take on many forms.

Verbal Abuse

Behavior that causes harm with words


How it works: Name calling, insults, public humiliation, yelling

Early Warning Signs: Teasing that includes insults

Physical Abuse

Behaviors that inflict harm on a person

How it works: Slapping, hitting, shoving, grabbing, hair pulling, biting, throwing objects

Early Warning Signs: Going into a rage when disappointed or frustrated, teasing, tripping, pushing, threatening to injure.

Psychological and Emotional Abuse

Behavior intended to cause psychological or emotional distress


How it works: Threats, intimidation, put-downs, jealousy, possessiveness, isolating a person from friends and family, destroying gifts, clothing, or letters or damaging a car, home or possessions.

Early Warning Signs: Pouting when you spend time with your friends, threatening to leave you in an unsafe location, trying to control what you do.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual advances that make a person feel uncomfortable; sexual behavior that is unwanted

How it works: Insisting physically, or verbally that a person who has said "no", is forced to have sex anyway

Early Warning Signs: Using emotional blackmail to talk you into having sex ("if you loved me, you would…")

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