Family life and its dynamics vary across the world. Many factors like religion and race can affect these dynamics and although there may be some commonalities in the general fundamentals of family values, not all are seen as healthy or beneficial to a family.
Family violence is an umbrella categorization that has many names like domestic violence, spousal abuse and domestic abuse. Regardless of the terminology used, it is seen as any threatening, violent or intimidating behavior by one family member towards another which causes that person to feel threatened or fearful for their life.
Family Violence has many faces and can happen to anyone and occurs when there is a perceived imbalance of power in the relationship. The aggressor uses intimidation and bullying tactics to instill fear in a person which leads to conformity.
Though a popular belief, family violence is not limited to physical abuse. It can also be sexual, mental or financial.
Sexual Abuse encompasses any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature. It does not always include forceful acts like rape; it can be more underhanded acts with ulterior motives like tampering with a spouse’s birth control, the transmitting of STDs or forced abortions.
Physical Abuse is recognized as bodily harm done to a person. This includes hitting, spitting, pushing, stabbing and in some cases the verbal threat of violence.
Psychological Abuse can play out in many forms. From threats of suicide if a partner decides to leave or constant negative critiquing and deliberate isolation from one’s family, this form of abuse is as equally destructive as physical abuse.
Financial abuse happens when one person uses their finances to control another individual’s way of life. It could be from confiscating their salary to forcing the person to ask for money for the most minuscule of expenses.
If you have been a victim of family violence, you have lawful options to help remedy the situation. Some include emergency protection orders, restraining orders and you also have the option of pressing criminal charges.
If you do decide to pursue legal recourse, the first step should be to identify if your needs will require formal legal intervention. Sometimes simple actions such as changing a telephone number or changing residences may remedy the situation.
It may seem inconvenient to a victim of family violence but ensuring that there is no contact with the perpetrator can sometimes help end the threat of violence and there is no price too high to pay to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
When choosing the legal route, a Judge may err on the side of caution (when it is reasonable to assume that any notice of the impending order would place the victim in immediate harm) and the offending party could be informed of your intention to file through lawyers and other court appointed individuals.
It is advisable that a victim make an inquiry to the police as most acts of family violence are considered criminal offences. They can deliver notice of a protection or restraining order on behalf of the victim.
Here in Canada, violence directly impacts the family unit in a negative manner. It can lead to divorce, psychological problems and even criminal acts that have dire consequences. The Family Law Act enforces the rights of spouses and dependants and it is important that you are aware of the laws that are designed to protect you.
Call us at Zeidman Law to speak with one of our knowledgeable and professional attorneys if you or someone you know is in need of our services. We offer a free consultation where we assess your case and advise you of the options that are best suited to your specific circumstances.