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Interpersonal violence refers to violence between individuals. It occurs across age, ethnic, gender and economic lines, among heterosexual & same sex individuals and persons with disabilities. Anyone can be a victim.

Interpersonal violence can be divided into 3 main areas:


Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) refers to behavior by an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse, and controlling behaviors.

IPV violence is about one person using power and control over another to manipulate a relationship.

Scroll down this page to get examples of the different ways abuse happens.

If you or someone you know is being abused – there is help.

If you are in immediate DANGER or fear for your safety – Call 9-1-1

The “Need Help?” button on this page will give you more information on the different programs and services CDVS provides & the Resources listed at the bottom of this page are just some of the community partners available to assist.

You are not alone…. CDVS can provide support, information or resources whether you are staying in an abusive relationship, preparing to leave or already apart…everyone deserves to live a life free from violence


Family violence is any form of abuse or neglect that a child or adult experiences from a family member. It is an abuse of power by one person to hurt or control someone who trusts and depends on them. Learn more


Community violence is defined as intentional acts of interpersonal violence often committed in public areas by individuals who are not related to the victim, either intimately or through family relations.

Although people can anticipate some types of traumatic events, community violence can happen suddenly and without warning. Common types of community violence include individual or group conflicts such as bullying & fights, conflicts among gangs and other groups, homicides, sexual assaults, robberies, and use of weapons.

Caledon\Dufferin Victim Services can assist victims and those effected by interpersonal violence with:

Emotional Support

Safety Planning

Practical Assistance





Interpersonal violence can include any or all of the following:

Physical abuse, including assault, is the intentional use of force against a person without that person's consent. It can cause physical pain or injury that may last a long time. Physical abuse includes:

  • pushing or shoving
  • hitting, slapping or kicking
  • pinching or punching
  • strangling or choking
  • stabbing or cutting
  • shooting
  • throwing objects at someone
  • burning
  • holding someone down for someone else to assault
  • locking someone in a room or tying them down
  • killing someone
All of these acts are crimes in Canada.

Sexual abuse of an adult can include:

  • sexual touching or sexual activity without consent
  • continued sexual contact when asked to stop
  • forcing someone to commit unsafe or humiliating sexual acts
All sexual contact with anyone without consent is a crime. This includes sexual touching or forcing sexual activity on a spouse, a common law partner or a dating partner. Even when married, a spouse cannot be forced to have sexual contact.

Emotional abuse happens when a person uses words or actions to control, frighten or isolate someone or take away their self-respect. Emotional abuse is sometimes called psychological abuse. It can include:

  • threats, put downs, name calling or insults
  • constant yelling or criticism
  • controlling or keeping someone from seeing friends or family
  • making fun of preventing someone from practicing their faith or religion
  • destroying belongings, hurting pets or threatening to do so
  • bullying: intimidation or humiliation (including on the Internet)

Many forms of emotional abuse are not crimes but can be signs that the abuse might get worse.
Some forms are crimes such as:

  • threats to harm the person or someone else
  • criminal harassment (stalking) which involves following or repeatedly contacting a person when they don't want contact and they are afraid.

Financial abuse happens when someone uses money or property to control or exploit someone else. It can involve:

  • taking someone's money or property without permission
  • withholding or limiting money to control someone
  • pressuring someone to sign documents
  • forcing someone to sell things or change a will
Most forms of financial abuse are crimes, including theft and fraud.

Neglect happens when a family member, who has a duty to care for you, fails to provide you with your basic needs. This can involve:

  • not providing proper food or warm clothing
  • failing to provide adequate health care, medication and personal hygiene (if needed)
  • failing to prevent physical harm
  • failing to ensure proper supervision (if needed)

Spouses and common-law partners have a duty to care for each other. Adults have a duty to care for their dependent children as well as their dependent parents.

Some forms of neglect are crimes in Canada, including failure to provide the necessities of life and child abandonment.

**All definitions taken in part from Department of Justice – Government of Canada Website


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