What is Intimate Partner Violence?

Intimate partner violence refers to harm caused by an intimate partner.  An intimate partner is a person with whom someone has or had a close personal relationship.  The relationship could be characterized, for example, by an emotional connection, or ongoing physical contact or sexual behaviour.  If you are in an abusive relationship please call 519-539-4811 or 1-800-265-1938 to talk to someone about your options.

Domestic Abuse Services Oxford does not subscribe to call display and you do not have to give your name. All calls are confidential.

Types of Abuse Include:

Hitting, punching, beating, slapping, pulling hair, use of weapons, mutilation, burning, biting, murder

Any forced sexual contact ranging from unwanted touching to rape, harassment

Threats, insults, name-calling, blaming and accusing, swearing, shouting

Emotional / Psychological 
Withholding love, sympathy or understanding, inadequate physical or emotional care, isolation, intimidation, extreme jealousy, destroying property, threatening to commit suicide

Stealing, withholding money and/or denying access to employment opportunities, preventing access to household financial information

Belittling a person’s spiritual beliefs or preventing them from attending the church, synagogue or temple of their choice

The Cycle of Abuse

Gender-based/Intimate Partner Violence (also called domestic violence) is rarely a one-time occurrence. It usually takes place as part of a cycle that includes the following phases…

Tension-building stage: 
Insults and other verbal attacks; minor abusive situations; victim tries to be compliant, “walks on eggshells,” and feels helpless; atmosphere becomes increasingly more oppressive.

Violent episode: 
Built-up tensions erupt into incidents ranging from severe verbal/emotional abuse to physical/sexual assault and can last from a few minutes to a few days, depending on the relationship. It is during this time that a woman is most likely to be seriously injured or killed by her partner.

Honeymoon stage: 
Following a violent episode the abuser is usually contrite and attentive; the victim once again recognizes the person she first fell in love with and may be inclined to believe his promises to change.

Gender-based violence rarely stops without some form of intervention. The cycle usually repeats itself with the violent episodes escalating in frequency and intensity.

1 out of every 4 Canadian women will suffer some type of abuse during her lifetime and every year, 1 in 10 Canadian women are physically assaulted by her partner. Domestic violence and abuse occurs in all socio-economic groups and cultural/religious backgrounds and it affects women of all ages.