What is Spousal Assault?
When your spouse is hurting you, you can:
- Leave the area immediately and get help.
- Scream loudly.
- If you cannot leave the area, you can stand in front of windows or door area, so that your neighbors can see you are in danger, then get help for you.
- If the situation allows, you can call for the police's help, tell the police that your spouse is hurting you, and then you need to provide the police your information.
- If you cannot speak English, you can call 911 - policy emergency hotline, where a Chinese operator can help you.
- Prepare an emergency plan in advance; tell your children what to expect and what to do when this happens. This should be the safety plan to follow. You can tell your children that when this happens again, they can hide in neighbors' or friends' house until you pick them up.
When the police come:
The police cannot enter private property without the landlord's consent. Therefore, you should agree to let the police to enter your house for investigation.
You must tell the police:
- You have been abused by your spouse.
- How many times had this been happened?
- A detailed description of the event.
- Whether your spouse uses weapon against you?
- Was anyone witnessing what has happened?
You can request the police to:
- Help you to leave the area, and take you and your children to a women's shelter or another safe place.
- Leave his/her name and badge number.
- Help you to bring your children out of the home.
When you leave the area, you should bring:
- Your children; you can request for police's help if needed.
- Your children's favourite toys, comforter and little daily needs.
- Keys and ID (includes: birth certificates, health cards, driver's license, passport, landed immigrant paper, and social insurance card).
- Cash, bank card, and bank book.
- Daily necessities and personal clothing.
You must take action!
When being assaulted by their spouses, many women choose to keep silent about it. They tend to think that it is a private matter and it will be resolved within the family. In fact, this is WRONG! Statistics show that spousal abuse could start from pulling one's hair and it could end up in murder. About 1/5 Canadian murder cases arise from domestic dispute. Moreover, there is detrimental effect of domestic violence towards children's mental health behaviors, school performance and their social development.
Therefore, it is justified for you to take action to protect yourself and your children's safety and their future. Leaving your spouse is one of the options. Maybe your spouse would ask you to stay, and promise not to hurt you again. However, in the precedent cases, most perpetrators did not keep their promise and spousal assault recurred. Therefore, you have to consider whether or not your spouse is really willing to make positive change of their attitude and behavior, whether they are willing to seek professional help to solve their problems.
If your spouse did not show regret and change, you have to be decisive and be realistic about the situation. You might be ambivalent and have concerns upon your finance, housing and child custody and other legal matter. Don't worry! Please feel free to contact any women shelters or family service agencies. Social workers are available to help out and understand your problems.
You are welcome to contact Chinese Family Services of Ontario. We are staffed by professional social workers/counsellors and are mandated to serve those victims of family violence.