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What should you do if you are experiencing domestic abuse during COVID in Ontario?

By | - June 30, 2020

Steve Benmor is a recognized divorce lawyer, family mediator, arbitrator, speaker, writer and educator. Mr. Benmor has worked as lead counsel in many divorce trials, held many leadership positions in the legal community and has been regularly interviewed on television, radio and in newspapers as an expert in Family Law.

Types & Signs of Domestic Abuse

Abuse can be hard to identify because it comes in many forms: verbal, emotional, financial, or physical. Because there are so many different types of abuse, and because the majority of the categories don’t come with bruises, it can be difficult to recognize abuse in your relationship, but there are signs.  For example, if your partner yells at you or makes you feel inadequate, crazy, or stupid, then that is a sign of emotional and verbal abuse. If your partner is jealous, accusatory and is always checking up on you to make sure you are where you said you’d be, that is a sign of abuse. Generally, if you consistently feel fear and shame in your relationship, it’s a sign of abuse. If you feel afraid around your partner or constantly worried that you’re going to make him/her mad or set him/her off, then that’s a sign of abuse being present in your relationship. 

Domestic Abuse Defined

The actual meaning of abuse is when someone exerts control over another person.  Abuse is about power. If someone consistently exerts power over another person — that’s abuse. It doesn’t matter if that power is exerted verbally, financially, or through manipulation or physical violence — it is important to remind yourself that it is not your fault, you do not deserve to be mistreated, and that you have options.

You don’t have to tolerate or live with abuse of any kind. You must feel safe in your own home. If you are in this situation, it is important for you to seek help.  

A New Way To Seek Help

The Canadian Women’s Foundation has created a simple one-handed signal that you can use on a video call to silently show that you need help, and want someone to check in with you in a safe way. 

One handed signal for domestic abuse help to use on a video call

This video demonstrates how it can be used and discusses how people should respond if they see the signal being used. 

Local Domestic Abuse Helplines & Resources

If you are able to find a private space, it is better to call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 416-863-0511 for direct help. You can also call Project Lisa if you need free legal & community support: 416-633-5100. 

And of course, if you need professional legal counsel, that is experienced in protecting their clients from controlling, abusive, and combative spouses, we are here to help. Call us at 416-489-8890.

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