1. Get help if you or someone you love is in danger

How do I know I'm in an abusive situation?
This question has an answer and 4 steps
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1. Get help if you or someone you love is in danger

Think about someone you can call who can help right away. You may also want to contact the police by calling 911. A number of things may happen if you call the police.

For example, the police may charge your partner, charge you, or charge both of you, with a crime.

There is always a chance that you could be charged, even if you are the abused partner.

The police will talk to both you and your partner, and look for other evidence before deciding if they should charge either or both of you with a crime.

If you're physically hurt, you can ask the police to call an ambulance. The police can also take you to a hospital, doctor, or a Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre if there is one in your area. These centres are hospital departments that help victims of domestic and sexual assault. They have 24-hour services and follow-up care, crisis counselling, and referrals to shelters. They also offer legal and financial help.

You can go to a doctor or a Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre even if you do not call the police first.

Help for a child

If someone thinks a child is being abused or neglected, they must call the Children's Aid Society. The Children's Aid Society (CAS) has a legal duty to make sure that children are protected from harm. The government has given them this job.

Child abuse includes physical, sexual, and emotional harm. Emotional harm may include when a child watches someone in their home being abused. Neglect is also abuse. It includes situations where a child's basic needs for things like food, shelter, sleep, or clothing are not being met.

You don't have to find out if the harm actually happened. But if you have good reason to believe that a child has been harmed or might be harmed, you must tell the CAS. This is sometimes called the duty to report. Everyone has a legal duty to report these situations, including family, friends, and neighbours.

Most people who work with children can be charged with a crime if they don't report these situations to the CAS. This includes teachers, doctors, nurses, daycare workers, family counsellors, social workers, and religious leaders. They can be fined up to $1,000 if they fail to report their suspicions of harm.

The police also are required to contact the CAS if they think any child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed.

You May Also Need

Community Legal Education Ontario
Department of Justice Canada
Reviewed: August 31, 2017

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