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Domestic violence FAQs

Domestic violence is a very serious crime. If you're a victim, find out how to report domestic violence​ and see our domestic violence victim resources.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is defined as physical violence, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, stalking and harassment between family members or persons in a relationship or related by virtue of children, marriage, or adoption. It can happen in heterosexual and same-sex relationships, and both men and women can be victims.

What are the warning signs of domestic violence?

In adults:

  • Personality changes (angry, moody, agitated etc.).
  • Becoming withdrawn, closed, suddenly fearful or secretive.
  • Difficulty sleeping or abnormally tired.
  • Lower self-esteem, feeling negative about themselves.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Neglecting personal hygiene or personal appearance.
  • Physical signs of injuries like bruises, sores and cuts.
  • Making excuses for injuries which seem implausible.
  • Hiding injuries with excessive make-up, sunglasses, extra clothing.
  • Appetite changes - weight loss or weight gain.
  • Starting to use substances or increasing in substance use.
  • Stops attending usual activities (church, gym, family and holiday gatherings).

In children:

  • Physical signs of injuries like bruises, sores or cuts.
  • Unhappiness and withdrawal - may appear irritable and sad and withdraw from activities they once enjoyed.
  • Regression - returns to an earlier stage in development, such as clinging to caregivers, thumb-sucking or bed wetting.
  • Changes in school performance - positively or negatively - or suddenly seeking more approval by teachers.
  • Anger, violence or bullying behaviour towards other children or animals.
  • Difficulty sleeping, nightmares.
  • Sexually acting out by using knowledge, language and behavior that is out of the scope of normal sexual development.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and signs like frequent yeast or bladder infections; pregnancy in older children; difficulty sitting or walking; injury to genital areas; or child complaining of headaches and stomach aches without medical explanation.

What happens to my children if I report the crime?

This is on a "case by case" basis.

If there is a concern for the child’s safety then they may be temporarily taken out of the home until Child Family Services Authority deems the home to be a safe environment for the children to live in.

The abuser may be taken out of the home on a court order and the victim of the abuse and the children stay in the home.

If I leave the house and need to return to get my belongings, can the police help?

Yes, as long as you have a legal right to the property Calgary Police Service will do what is called a domestic standby where you may remove your belongings.

What are the different types of orders available to me?

To protect against family violence, there are two types of orders available. There is an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) and a restraining order.

How can I help someone I know who is being abused?

Be there and listen, be non-judgmental​, help your friend or family member develop safety plans, help them contact resources.