Abuse is not restricted to intimate relationships. The misuse of power – intimidation, isolation, humiliation, fear, threats, putdowns – may also be evident in friendships, families or workplace.

How will I know if my child is in an abusive relationship?

Acknowledging a problematic relationship is very difficult for anyone and teens unfortunately do not always share their thoughts and experiences with their parents. Watch for subtle signs that you’re your child may be worried or upset. Recognize that abuse occurs along a continuum, beginning with verbal insults, disrespect and threats, escalating to physical behaviour and sometimes accelerating to the use of knives, guns or other weapons. Check out some Warning Signs.

How can I help my child to stay safe?

Despite how scary it is when you think (or know) that your child is in danger, resist the temptation to criticize or lecture. Listen with your ears, eyes and heart. Criticism of either the victim or abuser will only lead to defensiveness, anger and mistrust. Your goal is to keep the door to communication and support open. Concentrate on your child’s strengths and empower them to develop their own boundaries. Remember sometimes change takes a long time but your support and love, even when they make less than optimum choices, is what will eventually guide them to safe and healthy choices.
More information in
About Abuse/Support Tips

Where can I go for help?

Educate yourself about abuse. There are many community organizations that can offer both information and support to you. The Parent Help Line www.parentsinfo.sympatico.ca 1-888-603-9100 is an excellent place to begin.
Lots of other organizations, publications and websites are listed in our Resources section.

Message from Dawna Speers