Health & Wellness from Fitness 2J2: Domestic violence can happen to anyone
- Joel Pedersen | April 29, 2015
For the past few years I have been an Investigator with the Saskatoon Police Service in the section of Domestic Violence. My colleagues and I would review and investigate hundreds of incidents each year. From stalking and harassment, to domestic assault and attempted murder: none of these stories are the same, and it does not matter what part of the city they live in nor the jobs or professions they may have or positions they may hold. Domestic Violence may affect all of us either directly or indirectly.
Often what we find are unhealthy lifestyles, either alcohol and drug addictions; mental health related conditions; break down of relationships full of regret, remorse, and resentment. Most involve families, and if so, always the victims are the children. Often not even realizing the environment they are living in is not healthy, it is however their reality.
Many in abusive relationships may experience a cycle, or pattern of abuse. The cycle of abuse may speed up during the course of a relationship, and the calm stage may become shorter. As the cycle continues, the abuse will likely become more extreme.
There are many reasons people live with partners that are violent and abusive. Hope, love, and fear are three emotions that keep the cycle in motion and make it hard to ask for help or end an abusive relationship. Love for your partner, because the relationship has its good points? It’s not all that bad, it could be worse? Hope that it will change, because the relationship didn’t start like this? Fear of threats to harm you or your family will become a reality; financial; being ‘alone’.
The most recent homicide in Tisdale, Saskatchewan brings once again the seriousness of domestic violence. Domestic violence should not happen to anybody, ever, period. But it does, and when it does there is help. Maybe you have lived with abuse, maybe it happened just once; maybe you work or live next to someone who is being abused right now. Know your rights, it is a crime if someone physically hurts or threatens you. No one has the right to hurt you, physically or emotionally, even if they say they love you. In Canada, victims of Intimate Partner Violence are protected under the Criminal Code of Canada. The police can arrest the abuser if the incident involves: an assault; threats of violence; use of a weapon; destruction of your personal property; harassment or stalking; an abuser in violation of a no-contact order.
In Saskatchewan, the Victims of Domestic Violence Act provides police and prosecutors legal tools to assist victims of domestic violence, in addition to the Criminal Code of Canada.
Emergency Intervention Orders (EIO) are available 24 hours a day in emergent cases. Police, mobile crisis or victim assistance workers can help victims apply for an EIO. These orders are effective upon notice to the abuser, and remain in effect for as long as the Justice of the Peace directs. EIO can restrain the abuser from contacting with or communicating the victim or victim’s family. Provides the victim exclusive occupation of the home so they are not the one to leave, among other things.
Victim’s Assistance Order is very similar to the EIO except it deals with non-emergency situations. This can also order financial compensation from the abuser for losses suffered as a result of the domestic violence.
Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women. Children in these homes know about the violence, even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavior problems as a result of being exposed to the behaviors and actions. If you are being abused, you are not alone. It is not your fault. Help is available.
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