What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is a pattern of behaviour used by one person to gain power and control over another person with whom he/she has had an intimate relationship. This pattern of behaviour may include physical violence, sexual, emotional, and psychological intimidation, verbal abuse, stalking and using electronic devices to harass and control.

Although both women and men can be victims of domestic violence, the overwhelming majority of this violence involves men abusing women.

Intimate relationships include those between the opposite-sex and same-sex partners. These relationships vary in duration and legal formality and include current and former dating, common-law and married couples.


Safety Plan

In many situations, the risk level of victims of domestic violence increases when they advise their partner that they are ending the relationship.  Please find below some suggestions that may assist in developing a safety plan, however it is recommended that you contact the Hamilton Police Service, Victim Services Branch or women’s shelters to discuss a comprehensive safety plan.

  • Call 911 if you or a household member is in immediate danger
  • Talk to trusted friends and family members about your situation
  • Memorize emergency numbers or keep a list in a safe and accessible location
  • Have a safe room in your home, preferably with a lock on the door and a phone or cell phone
  • Create a code word or signal with your children and neighbours to call the police if you need help
  • Make sure you and your children are familiar with all possible exits from your home
  • Make arrangements for places you can go if you need to leave, safe locations where you and your children can go in crisis
  • Duplicate your house and car keys and keep them in a safe place
  • Open a bank account or credit card in your own name and arrange that bank statements or other calls be forwarded to a trusted friend or family member
  • Save and set aside as much money as you can for an emergency situation
  • Make sure that the school and daycare have a copy of all court orders, including restraining orders, custody and access orders, as well as a picture of the abusive partner
  • Copy and have at hand your important documents such as birth certificates, driver’s license, insurance, bank records, school and health records, passports, immigration documents, mortgage or lease papers, divorce or other court documents, address and telephone book.