Family Violence

What is it?

Here are some considerations for safety in a family relationship (parent-child, sibling or extended family relationships).  Please click here if you are experiencing or looking for information on intimate partner abuse (a relationship with a spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend).   

All families experience conflict which can emerge as a result of changing roles (e.g. children maturing into adulthood).  Conflict can also emerge when there are stressors such as financial troubles or clashes over culture differences. Conflict is not necessarily unsafe, however, it is important to distinguish between normal conflict and harmful/abusive relationships.

Family violence often includes the following behaviours:

  • physical violence (hitting, kicking, beating)
  • emotional/psychological abuse (belittling, intimidation, threats, humiliation)
    • threatening or forcing you to marry someone
  • control, including:
    • monitoring whereabouts;
    • accessing or monitoring personal e-mail or social media accounts
    • controlling access to resources (e.g. money, cellphone)
    • controlling access to your personal documentation (e.g. passports, birth certificate, other government ID)
  • isolating you from other family members, friends and the external community

Survivors of family violence often experience barriers to getting help and may refrain from disclosing the violence for a variety of reasons such as:

  • fear of the consequences that disclosure may have for the family (breaking the family up, leading to legal issues, etc.)
  • concern that the abuse will get worse or be directed towards another family member

Important Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Do you feel as though you have no, or limited, decision-making power or control in your own life?
  • Do you feel desperate to leave the family home?
  • Are there certain things you hide from your family for fear that you will be physically hurt, threatened or killed if they were to find out?
  • Has the threat to send you “back home” ever been used to try to control your actions?
  • Are you being monitored by family members? (accompanied place-to-place, your phone/e-mail/social media use controlled or monitored?)

If any of this sounds or feels familiar, know that you are not alone.  There are resources available at the University to help you get to safety.

Contact us at the Community Safety Office (416-978-1485) to talk about your options. 

If you cannot call us directly please speak with a Professor or staff at the Registrar’s Office and ask them to call the Community Safety Office on your behalf.