The Smallest Steps

Ready to take your first step towards change?

Need Help Now?

If you or someone you know is being abused, please reach out to the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

TOLL-FREE 1.866.863.0511
TOLL-FREE TTY 1.866.863.7868
#SAFE (#7233) On your Bell, Rogers, Fido or Telus mobile phone

Indigenous women can also access the Hope For Wellness Helpline to access experienced and culturally competent counsellors: 1.855.242.3310 or the MMIWG support line: 1.844.413.6649.

Intimate Partner Violence and Family Dynamics

"Overall, 44% of women who had ever been in an intimate partner relationship—or about 6.2 million women 15 years of age and older—reported experiencing some kind of psychological, physical, or sexual violence in the context of an intimate relationship in their lifetime (since the age of 15)."

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is also known as domestic violence, dating violence, or family violence. It can involve a single act of violence, such as an instance of physical abuse, but generally involves a pattern of abusive behaviour used by one intimate partner or spouse to gain or maintain power and control over another. The abuse experienced in IPV is not always physical. It can also include coercive control, sexual violence, verbal / emotional / psychological abuse, financial abuse, cyberviolence, and/or stalking.

IPV can happen to anyone, no matter their race, class, sexual orientation, religion, culture, sex, gender identity, or location. The video below by does great job of defining intimate partner violence and the various forms abuse can take.

Links and Resources on IPV

Domestic and Family Violence

  • Government of Canada – Services
    • This website provides a list of family violence resources and services in Canada 
  • Government of Canada – Family Violence
    • This website provides basic information on who to speak with about family violence, safety planning, and offender treatment programs.
  • Canadian Women’s Foundation – Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship
    • This resource provides information to help you identify if you are experiencing abuse in your relationship.
  • Domestic Shelters – Domestic Abuse Help in Canada
    • This resource outlines commonly asked questions about domestic violence and national domestic abuse helplines and resources.

Coercive Control

Financial Control

Emotional / Psychological Abuse

How to Take Action

Get Involved

  • Wear purple in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month
    • October and November are domestic violence awareness months in Canada (Starting in 1981, DV awareness month was in October. Different organizations also spread awareness in November depending on the group)
  • Wear Orange in February for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
    • February is teen dating violence awareness month
  • Plan an awareness-raising or ‘Activist Activation’ activity for 16 Days of Activism
    • November 25 to December 10 are the 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence. Use these days as an opportunity to organize an event, host a talk, or spread awareness about VAW with others!
  • Learn about the hand signal for help from women escaping violence.
    • During the pandemic, the Canadian Women’s Foundation encouraged those experiencing domestic violence to use the “Signal For Help”. This is a simple one-handed sign someone can use on a video call to silently show they need help. If you see someone using this signal, check in with the person safely to find out what they need and want you to do. It’s important to always check with the person first. They will know if it’s safe to call for additional supports.
  • Volunteer at crisis line, domestic violence shelter, or support group.
    • Anti-violence organizations need a lot of volunteer support. Share some of your time to support your local anti-violence organization’s events, their socials, or their counselling services!

Activists and Organizations to Follow on Social Media



Contact your local MP about violence against women in Canada

Things to discuss:

  • Explain that a lack of policy on intimate partner violence is unacceptable for Canada. Leaving our failing justice system to cover IPV under its many criminal codes creates gaps in which abusers are allowed to walk away without accountability.
  • Demand that all provinces and territories in Canada be joined together with one solid policy to protect anyone who experiences IPV. Emphasize that this policy should not be an extension of child protection acts but a standalone act that encompasses the different types of abuse people face in relationships.
  • Demand that abuser reform programs do not use a one-style fits-all model that has been proven to fail (these models do not take into account female abusers or lgbtq2s+ relationships). Require that these programs follow up with abusers after leaving the program to check in on recidivism rates (and fund organizations to complete these follow ups).

To contact your local MPP or MP please use the links below:

Provincial Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP)

Federal Member of Parliament (MP) by postal code