Everyone gets angry from time to time. Anger and arguments are normal parts of healthy relationships. But anger that leads to threats, hitting, or hurting someone is not normal or healthy. This is a form of abuse. Physical, verbal, or sexual abuse is not okay in any relationship. When it occurs between spouses or partners or in a dating relationship, it is called domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is also called intimate partner violence or domestic violence. It is not the same as an occasional argument. It is a pattern of abuse used by one person to control another.
In addition to violence between intimate partners:
Both men and women experience domestic abuse. It is a common form of violent behaviour and is a major problem in Canada. A national survey reported that 8% of women and 7% of men experienced some type of violence from their intimate partner. It can happen to anyone, at any age, no matter what race or religion they are, no matter what their level of education is or how much money they make.
Does your partner:
If any of these things are happening, you need to get help. It's important to know that you are not alone. The way your partner acts is not your fault. There is no excuse for domestic violence. Help is available.
Living in an abusive relationship can cause long-term health problems. Some of these health problems include:
Women who are sexually abused by their partners have a greater chance of having sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, and other problems.
Violence can get worse during pregnancy. Abused women are more likely to have problems such as low weight gain, anemia, infections, and bleeding during pregnancy. Abuse during this time may increase the baby's risk of low birth weight, premature birth, or death.
Abusers often blame the victim for the abuse. They may say "you made me do it." This is not true. People are responsible for their own actions. They may say they are sorry and tell you it will never happen again, even though it already has.
After abuse starts, it usually gets worse if you don't take steps to stop it. If you are in an abusive relationship, ask for help. This may be hard, but know that you are not alone. Your family, friends, fellow church members, employer, doctor, or local police department, hospital, or clinic can help you.
To report abuse or to get help, contact your provincial health authority. Each province has resources to help.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor or get other help.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, is a pattern of abuse in which one person uses fear and intimidation to gain power and control over a partner or family member. It may involve physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, such as:
Sexual abuse is any type of sexual activity that is done against your will. It can be:
If you have just been sexually abused or assaulted, try to preserve any evidence of the attack.
Physical abuse may include:
Neglect is a form of abuse. It happens when caregivers do not protect the health and well-being of the person they are supposed to take care of.
Two common types of neglect are:
Based on your answers, you may need help right away.
Call your local hospital, clinic, or police department.
You may also call 911 .
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
or other emergency services now.
Based on your answers, you may need help soon.
Call your local hospital, clinic, or police department.
After abuse starts, it usually gets worse if steps are not taken to stop it. If you are in an abusive relationship, ask for help. This may be hard, but know that you are not alone.
If you are in an abusive relationship, it is very important to develop a plan for dealing with a threatening situation. If your partner has threatened to harm you or your child, seek help.
If you are no longer living with a violent partner, contact the police to get a protective order if your abuser continues to pursue you, threaten you, or act violently toward you. Protective orders may also be called restraining orders, emergency intervention orders, peace bonds, or emergency protective orders.
If you have been a victim of abuse and continue to have problems related to the abuse, you may have depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For more information, see the topics Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Here are some things you can do to help a friend or family member.
The most important step is to help your friend contact local domestic violence groups. There are programs across the country that provide options for safety, support, needed information and services, and legal support.
If problems from domestic abuse become more frequent or severe, call your doctor to determine if and when you need to see your doctor or get other help.
It's also important to watch for signs of teen relationship abuse in your teen so you can help him or her with any problems.
If you have made an appointment with your doctor, you may be able to get the most from your visit by being prepared to answer the following questions:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofMarch 20, 2017
Current as of: March 20, 2017
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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