What is Alberta Family Violence? In today’s blog, Calgary and Alberta family violence protection lawyer Kaye Booth explains what it is and how it can be prevented and promptly dealt with.
Calgary Family Lawyers Can Help You Stay Safe
Alberta Family violence can be difficult to define, despite attempts of legislation to do so. One could say that family violence is difficult to describe, but you know when you see it; however, this is not actually the case. Abuse can be subtle, quiet, and never leave a single bruise, which can make it difficult to identify. The Alberta Protection Against Family Violence Act defines “family violence” as:
- i) any intentional or reckless act or omission that causes injury or property damage and that intimidates or harms a family member,
(ii) any act or threatened act that intimidates a family member by creating a reasonable fear of property damage or injury to a family member,
(iii) forced confinement,
(iv) sexual abuse, and
but is not to be construed so as to limit a parent or a person standing in the place of a parent from using force by way of correction toward a child who is under the care of the parent or person if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances. Click here for more information. The Divorce Act changes coming into effect imminently also can be used to address family violence
What is Alberta Family Violence? 403 444 5503
The Act only captures physical abuse in its definition of “family violence”, but what about other forms of abuse? Verbal, emotional, or financial abuse has a devastating effect on families; in fact, the Department of Justice includes all kinds of abuse in its definition of “family violence”, including non-physical forms. As such, family violence can be difficult to recognize, perhaps especially when you are the victim.
So which behaviours constitute family violence?
- Physical violence, including hitting, punching or kicking;
- The threat of physical violence;
- Threatening to take the children if you leave;
- Refusing to give you physical affection;
- Limiting your access to finances;
- Destroying your property;
- Yelling and name-calling;
- Demanding to view your texts or email;
- Following you to work.
This, of course, is a non-exhaustive list. Abuse does not have just one form, just as not all survivors of abuse, or abusers themselves, look or act the same way.
Currently, in Alberta, domestic abuse rates are the highest that they have been in 10 years, according to a report of The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters. Perhaps you are experiencing family violence. Perhaps you are in a position currently where you do not feel that you can leave the relationship. If this is the case, you need some tools to help you and any children also in the home:
- A support system – a friend, a family member, or neighbour to whom you can confide what is happening, and perhaps when and where you are ending the relationship, if you know. Ask them to check in on you from time to time.
- Call the Calgary Distress Centre – an organization with volunteers available 24 hours a day to listen and offer resources. You can call them at 403-266-4357.
- Know that it is all right to call the Police if you are in danger – some people in abusive relationships may worry that their issue is not important enough to call the police, but if you feel you are in danger, it is never wrong to contact the police. The police can help escort you out of your home with your belongings, and obtain and Emergency Protection Order.
- Prepare emergency funds – if you can open your own bank account, you can keep this money safe for when you decide to leave.
- Have a safety plan and communicate it to someone you trust – having a safety plan committed to memory will allow you not have to make decisions if you suddenly have to leave the house. If another person knows of your plans, they can assist.
Calgary Family Violence Protection Lawyers
When you are ready to leave, know that MacLean Law will be there for you to give you legal advice, advocate for you, and work tirelessly to keep you and your children safe. Abuse, no matter the form, is serious and harmful, and a lawyer can help you pick up the pieces after you leave. Child support, spousal support, property division, and parenting are all issues that will likely need to be dealt with at the end of any relationship between spouses or adult interdependent partners. A lawyer who is sensitive to your history can help you wade through the troubled waters of separation after abuse, and can answer your questions before you leave so you know your options. You can book a consult with a MacLean Lawyer any time to get the legal advice you need, no matter where you are in the process of separating.