Government of Saskatchewan
Quick Search:
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Saskatchewan Justice

What is family violence?

Family violence is the abuse of one family member by another. Women, men and children can all be victims of family violence. Older family members can be abused by their adult children. Family violence may take many different forms and include physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse, sexual abuse, intimidation, financial abuse and threat.

Abusive behaviour is rooted in the desire for someone to gain control over another to the advantage of the individual who is gaining control. An abuser may not need to hit or physically harm an individual to gain control over them. Emotional and verbal abuse can have the same impact as physical violence.

How can I help people who are victimized?

You can volunteer in your community, you can make a charitable donation, or you can work with community organizations who have formed partnerships to address family violence.

Who can be victimized?

Anyone can become a victim. Abusive behaviour crosses all economic boundaries, ethnic and cultural groups, genders, and all ages.

How do I know if someone is being abused?

Victims are often isolated from their community, friends and family. Victims may appear fearful of the perpetrator of violence. You may see physical evidence such as unusual bruising or injuries that do not match the explanation for how they were caused. You may notice signs in the victims such as jumpiness, depression or dwindling self-esteem. The perpetrator may exhibit jealousy or possessiveness or constant criticism.

Are there laws to help victims?

Assault is assault whether it is committed by a stranger or by someone you know. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, the police can charge someone who has committed an assault.

Domestic violence is any act of physical violence or threat to commit physical violence by one family member against another family member. It includes any kind of abuse that causes injury or property damage or that causes an individual to fear injury or property damage.

The Victims of Domestic Violence Act provides adult victims with legal options to have the offender removed and the victim and his/her children can remain in the family home.

The Child and Family Services Act is in place to help children who are being abused and neglected due to family violence.

In Saskatchewan, The Child and Family Services Act defines abuse and neglect. Child abuse is defined under section 81 as:

  • physical injury;
  • substantial impairment of a child's mental or emotional functioning;
  • exploiting a child or treating a child cruelly;
  • contacting a child for a sexual purpose; and
  • allowing or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution.

Section 11 of the Act addresses child neglect which includes:

  • not providing enough food, clothing, shelter or healthcare for the child; and
  • leaving a child alone or without proper supervision or care.

The law also protects children who may suffer physical or emotional harm because of family violence.

What do I do if I think a child is being abused or neglected?

Anyone who has a reason to believe that a child is being abused or neglected has a legal duty to report it. You are not expected to determine if a child is being abused or neglected, a trained social worker will make that determination. Members of the public are simply obligated by the law to report suspected abuse or neglect. If you do not report a suspicion of abuse or neglect, you could be fined up to $25,000, or get a jail term of up to 24 months, or get both a fine and a jail term.

You can report information to:

  • anySocial Servicesoffice;
  • a community crisis centre or unit (check the inside cover of your phone book);
  • a police officer; or
  • a First Nations Child and Family Service Agency.

© 2016 Government of Saskatchewan. All rights reserved.