Violence - you can make a difference - Violence against women
"What begins with control,
emotional and verbal
abuse, often becomes
physical violence."

Excerpt from Canada's Private Broadcasters' 1996 anti-Violence
Radio and Television Campaign

What you can do
to help an abused
woman - friend,
relative, co-worker
or neighbour

  • Give her clear messages.
    -    Violence is never okay or justifiable.
    -    Her safety and her children's safety are always the most important issues.
    -    Wife assault is a crime.
    -    She does not cause the abuse.
    -    She is not to blame for her partner's behaviour.
    -    She cannot change her partner's behaviour.
    -    Apologies and promises will not end the violence.
    -    She is not alone.
    -    She is not crazy.
    -    Abuse is not a loss of control, it is a means of control.
  • Help her make a safety plan.
    -    Talk with her about planning for her and her children's safety.
    -    Help her identify a wide range of choices. To stay or to permanently leave her relationship must not be seen as the only choice.
    -    Encourage and support her to make her own decisions.
  • Things to have her consider when making a safety plan.
    • Make a plan about what to do and where to go if you are in danger. Tell your children about the plan if they are old enough to understand.
    • If you have a vehicle, make sure it has gas. Hide an extra set of keys.
    • Hide some money to use if you have to get away.
    • Have a safe hiding place to go to - trusted friend, neighbour, relative, a women's shelter.
    • Work out a code word that can be used on the phone with someone you trust if you are in danger.
    • If you think you may have to leave your home, some items you may want to have ready to bring with you are: identification (birth certificates, health and social insurance cards, drivers' licences, immigration or citizenship papers, passports) bank books, charge cards, keys for your home and car, essential medicines, basic supplies for your children including a favourite toy or blanket.
    • Keep emergency numbers (including the police's) handy but hidden.

"Have a plan for your
safety and get help."

Excerpt from Canada's Private Broadcasters' 1996 anti-Violence
Radio and Television Campaign

Photocopy freely

  • Find out about the resources in your community.
    -    Look in the front pages of your telephone book for emergency numbers of police, crisis or distress lines, shelters.
    -    Prepare a fist of names and numbers of the emergency resources in your community so you can give it to a woman if you think she is being abused.
An abused woman needs your support and encouragement to make choices that are right for her. However, there are some forms of advice that are not useful and even dangerous for her to hear.


  • Don't tell her what to do, when to leave or when not to leave.
  • Don't tell her to go back to the situation and try a little harder.
  • Don't rescue her by trying to find quick solutions.
  • Don't suggest you try to talk to her husband to straighten things out.
  • Don't tell her she should stay for the sake of the children.
Violence - you can make a difference

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