A criminal act

Not only does domestic violence have social, emotional, psychological and financial implications, but it also involves a criminal element, because it can include crimes like assault, threats, and harassment. Therefore, police intervention and sometimes even legal procedures are necessary and desirable in some cases of domestic violence.

There are five possible forms of domestic violence: verbal, psychological, physical, sexual, and economic abuse. The use of these forms of violence allows the perpetrator to adapt his control strategies according to his partner’s reactions. Moreover, the forms of violence employed will not necessarily follow a linear path.

Domestic violence is based on a relationship of domination. Victims might suffer from isolation, harassment, denigration, humiliation, intimidation, depreciation, threats, physical and sexual violence, emotional blackmail or injuries. The abusive partner might also abuse his victim by controlling her income and expenses in order to take away her independence. The partner’s hold over the victim might extend to a psychological level. He might try to interfere with his victim’s thoughts by trying to control what she says and does, or by spying on her daily activities.

Alcohol, drugs and stress might exacerbate violent behaviour, but none of these elements justify it; there is no substance or stressful situation that has the power to make someone become violent against their will.

Do something.

Spread the word.
In addition to encouraging the victim to speak about their situation, take a stand against acts of domestic violence, and speak out to educate the community.

Numbers that make you think.

Here are some data gathered by the Ministère de la Sécurité Publique du Québec on reports of criminal acts committed in a domestic context:

In 2008, 17,321 domestic violence crimes were reported to the police.

More than 8 out of 10 victims were women; this represents 14,242 women and 3,079 men.

Besides the fact that most of the victims were women for all offence categories, the general victim profile was the following :

  • Nearly 9 out of 10 victims were between 18 and 49 years of age;
  • 45 % were partners of the alleged perpetrator, while 41% were the former partners;
  • 43 % were injured during the offence, and among the injured, 88% sustained minor injuries.

In 2007, a total of 12 homicides were reported, which is 8 fewer than in 2006. In 2008, 11 homicides were reported. Nine of the victims were women, and two were men. That is the lowest figure for domestic violence homicides in 10 years.

There were 1,677 other victims of criminal acts committed in a domestic context. Around a third of these other victims were children, and the majority of them were the children of the alleged perpetrators.

Source : MINISTÈRE DE LA SÉCURITÉ PUBLIQUE, Statistiques 2008 sur la criminalité commise dans un contexte conjugal au Québec.