If you are being abused, the most important thing to know is you are not alone. You do not deserve to be abused. Family violence is a serious social issue; some forms are criminal. There is help for you and anyone affected by abuse. There are also things you can do to protect yourself and others who are affected by family violence.
Specialized services are available for Aboriginal families. Call the Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818 for information on services in your area. You can also talk to an Elder, a community health nurse, caseworker or other trusted professional, or call the police, RCMP or tribal police for help.
The healing journey
Aboriginal cultures encourage a holistic healing approach to family violence that focuses on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Rather than punishing the abuser and separating the family, Aboriginal communities need family violence solutions that seek harmony and balance of not only the individual, but of the whole community. Every Aboriginal community is different, and each healing approach must be created and driven from within the community to be successful. The National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence website provides information on services available for Aboriginal communities.
Family Violence Prevention Program for First Nations
The Family Violence Prevention Program for First Nations website was developed by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The anticipated result is a reduction in family violence and a more secure family environment for children on-reserve, by providing abuse prevention and protection services for Indian children and their families resident on reserve.
Thirty-seven per cent of Aboriginal women and thirty per cent of Aboriginal men reported experiencing emotional abuse (such as insults, jealousy, and the attempt to control and limit the activities and social relationships of one’s partner) during the previous five-year period (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2001b).
Fifty-seven per cent of the Aboriginal women who experienced abuse indicated that children witnessed the violence (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2001b).
Aboriginal women are significantly more likely to experience spousal assault (24%) and more severe forms of violence (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2005).