Violence is a very real problem in our society. It can affect our homes and families, our schools, our streets, our businesses, our recreational pursuits and our communities. Violence can take many forms.

This section deals with domestic violence, gender-based violence, child abuse and elder abuse.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence can affect anybody. It is a pattern of behaviour in which one partner controls the other. More women than men are abused in domestic violence situations. This abuse may be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation reports that approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.

Here are some myths and facts about intimate partner violence:

Myth: Men are just as likely to experience domestic violence.

Fact: Men are much more likely than women to commit domestic violence. Men are also more likely to repeat the abuse over a longer period of time and cause more physical harm.

Myth: Drugs or alcohol make him violent.

Fact: Some abusers will only hurt their partners when they’ve been drinking or doing drugs. Alcohol and drugs can provide an easy excuse, but this is not the cause of violence. An abuser will often try to minimize the violence or deny responsibility for it, but violence is a choice.

Myth: Domestic violence is a private family matter.

Fact: Many families believe that what happens in the family should stay there. However, domestic violence impacts everyone and there is no shame in speaking up. We all have a part to play in ending domestic violence.

For more information, visit the Neighbours, Friends & Families website. 
If you think that you are a victim of abuse, ask yourself if your partner, husband or boyfriend has ever

  • made you feel worthless
  • forced sex or sexual acts
  • put you down
  • controlled money
  • isolated you from friends/family
  • needed to know where you were at all times
  • threatened you
  • grabbed, pinched, pushed or hit you

If you answered yes to any of the above, you are not alone.

Visit Ottawa Victim Services to get support and referrals.

Gender-based violence

Gender-based violence is an act of violence through unwanted or non-consensual sexual behaviour. Gender-based violence includes sexual assault and other sexual offences.

Gender-based violence is primarily a crime committed by men against women. Younger women under age 25 are at higher risk, but married and common-law partners in abusive relationships also experience gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is about power, control and humiliation over an individual. It includes physical and psychological abuse.

Men who commit gender-based violence are not mentally ill or sexually frustrated. A woman’s body is her own—she has control over her sexual activity. Just because a woman is a wife, girlfriend or previous partner does not mean that her partner can make those choices for her.

The Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women found that eight women are assaulted each day. Only one will report this to the police.

Here are some myths and facts you ought to know:

Myth: Most sexual assault is committed by a stranger.

Fact: Approximately 75% to 80% of sexual assault offenders are known to the survivor.

Myth: Women falsely accuse men as an act of revenge.

Fact: Women rarely make false accusations. In fact, it is also known that less than 10% of survivors report sexual assaults, and that a lower percentage of these would be from intimate relationships. Reports have indicated that sexual assault occurs in the home about 80% of the time.

Myth: A woman “asks for it” through dress, intoxication or actions.


  • It does not matter where she was.
  • It does not matter what she was doing.
  • It does not matter what she was wearing.
  • It does not matter if she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Everyone has the right to be asked for their consent. Consent cannot be given when a woman is

  • intoxicated
  • being pressured
  • experiencing an imbalance of power (i.e. employer and employee).

Consent is a clear message that the sexual act you discussed is wanted or invited. One sexual act does not imply consent for another. Without consent, any sexual act is unacceptable.

Survivors of gender-based violence can access resources – many of which are free – in the Ottawa region. Although survivors had no control over the assault, they do have options in their response, and can get actively involved in the process of reclaiming their personal power.

Visit Ottawa Victim Services to get support and referrals.

Child Abuse

Child abuse is a tragic crime that most often involves someone the child knows. Statistics Canada’s Canada’s Family Violence in Canada profile reports that nearly 15,000 children and youth were the victims of a sexual offence and just over 27,000 were victims of physical assault in 2016. It’s important to note that this report makes use of police-reported data which may not uncover all cases due to under-reporting.
The Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa’s (CAS) Child Protection workers are trained professionals who work with families and community service partners to resolve concerns or struggles that children and youth may be experiencing.
The best way to deal with child abuse and neglect is to prevent it by contacting the CAS before family problems get out of control.

To get help

  • Contact the Children’s Aid Society for information and referrals to other services
  • If you would like to know more about child abuse, visit the Department of Justice’s Family Violence Initiative website.
  • If you know of a child who may be the victim of abuse, contact the Ottawa Police Service’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section
  • See the Victim Services section for other support and referrals

Elder Abuse

The abuse of older adults is “a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust that causes harm or distress to an older person,” according to the World Health Organization. This can include physical, financial, sexual or psychological abuse or neglect.

According to Elder Abuse Ontario, 2% to 10% of seniors in North America face some kind of abuse or neglect.

For more information