Keeping Your Family Safe from Family Violence & Abuse
This section describes what you can do to protect yourself if you are in immediate danger, what you can do when it is not an emergency, the services that can help, and how to develop a safety plan.
If you are in immediate danger
If you are in immediate danger dial 911. You have the right to expect help from the police. If your community does not have 911 service call your local police emergency phone.
When the police come, they will talk to you and the abuser separately. The police will decide if there is enough evidence to prove a crime was committed.
If there is evidence that the abuser harmed you, threatened you, or is likely to harm you, the police may arrest the abuser. If there is not enough evidence, the police may apply for a protection order for you, or suggest you apply for one yourself.
Being arrested is not the same as being charged with a crime. Police have to make a report to Crown counsel who decide if the abuser will be charged.
If you feel unsafe
If you are afraid for your safety ask the police to take you and your children to a transition house, the home of a relative or friend or a safe house.
Call VictimLink BC and tell them what happened. You can ask to be referred to a victim services worker who can help you in your own language.
Ask the police about a peace bond or call a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, call legal aid and tell them that it is an emergency. A lawyer can help you get a parenting order and a protection order. Read the section Legal protection against family violence in page 7 of this booklet for more information about protection orders.
What if my sponsor is the abuser?
If you have permanent resident status or conditional permanent resident status and you leave your spouse, you can stay in Canada. You will not be deported or have to leave. If you do not have full permanent residence status or you are a refugee claimant, get legal help right away.
What if I am sponsoring the abuser
If you are sponsoring your abuser, get legal advice as soon as possible.
If you are not in immediate danger
If you are experiencing abuse but you are not in immediate danger, you can:
- Call VictimLink BC at 1.800.563.0808. You can ask to be referred to a victim service worker who can give you confidential help in your own language
- If you or your children have been injured go to a hospital or medical clinic as soon as possible
- Tell someone you trust what happened
- Allow a friend or family member to provide help and support
- Talk to a lawyer about protecting yourself and your children
- Call the police non-emergency number and make a report
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by People's Law School, 2014.|
|Workplace Bullying and Harassment © People's Law School is, except for the images, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.|