Responding to Abuse

Common warning signs of abusive behavior

  • If he/she tries to go too fast too soon-quick involvement
  • Pressure for sex/intimacy, other personal information
  • If he/she shows intense unwarranted jealousy or possessiveness
  • Controls he/she/ and the relationship and decisions in the relationship
  • If he/she uses critical or derogatory language towards your family and friends
  • History of abusing partners or pattern of using derogatory remarks about past partners
  • If he/she tries to isolate you from friends, family or outside activities
  • If he/she checks up on your every move, interrogation
  • If he/she history/or currently mistreats children, or pets
  • Sudden changes in self-esteem, social confidence, or major personality characteristics.
  • Externally limited access to finances or transportation
  • Covering bruising with non-seasonal clothing or accessories
  • Repetitive injuries, often accompanied by excuses about clumsiness or “accidents”
  • Fear or undue anxiety to please someone

Addressing abuse head on

Helping Someone Else

The first step is to recognize and understand the signs of abuse. This printout of the ‘Power and Control Wheel‘ is an excellent place to start. Sometimes we must see a full accounting of abuse in all its different forms (many of them subtle) for us to see it for what it really is.

Your next job is listen! While you may want to jump right in and help, it’s important to note that she may not be ready to leave the relationship. Look at Why Does She Stay for a better understanding of why women stay in abusive relationships. We cannot stress enough the importance of being cautious and sensitive. The wrong approach can cause significant harm. That being said, doing nothing can also have devastating outcomes. If you have firm reasons to suspect that someone you know is being abused, we strongly encourage you to talk to an appropriate professional. Depending on the severity of the case, that might be a police officer, a local family counsellor, or a social worker.  Our Crisis Intervention Support Team are also available 24/7 should you need some advice on the best course of action.  Call (780) 532-2672 to talk to a Crisis Intervention Worker.  In cases where abuse is known to exist with absolute certainty, or where there is probable cause to be concerned for someone’s life, you have a legal obligation to report it to the authorities immediately.

Helping Yourself

There are many different types of abuse; the important thing to remember about relationships is that healthy relationships never involve violence. If you are seeing two or more repetitive signs of abusive behavior, it’s time to seek your own protection and intervention from the abuser.

Here are some points to keep in mind when you decide you are ready to take the next step:

  1. Make sure you and children are safe
  2. Know you are not responsible for the abuse
  3. Understand that abuse and violence will likely continue without intervention
  4. Tell someone you trust about the abuse. Secrecy gives it more power
  5. Empower yourself with knowledge, information about abuse in relationships
  6. Find out what help is available in your community
  7. Get professional help from someone who understands abuse
  8. Care for yourself- you need energy and strength to change your situation
  9. Spend time with healthy people.

Our crisis line is open 24/7 call (780) 532-2672. There’s always someone there and ready to take your call. Your safety matters. And so does your happiness.

In cases where abuse is minimal or rare, it can still be important to create a safety plan in the event of an eventual escalation. You can use these questions as a starting point, though we strongly encourage you to call us to create one with you. Even a small chance of serious violence isn’t worth the risk. We’re glad to arrange a meeting at a safe, neutral location.