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Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I think someone I know is experiencing abuse?
Here are a few ways you can help someone that is being abused, or you suspect is being abused:
- Listen to their story and believe them.
- Ask questions like:
- Do you feel safe?
- Can I help you find a safe place to stay?
- Is there anything you need to tell me in confidence?
- Encourage your friend to think about safety and help build an escape plan.
- Reach out to domestic violence programs and shelters.
- Refrain from using discriminating words or phrases that reinforce harmful stereotypes about women and girls.
- Encourage healthy conversations about women and girls in your peer groups or family gatherings.
- Consider attending or hosting an interpersonal violence awareness training session for organizations you are involved with.
How do I know if I am being abused?
Does your partner…
- Ignore or minimize your feelings
- Constantly criticize, insult, or call you names
- Humiliate you in public or private
- Refuse to help you when you are sick or injured
- Hit, choke, punch, bite, slap, or kick you
- Control all the money
- Lock you out of your home
- Isolate you from your family, friends, work and community support
- Control where you go and what you do
- Check up on you constantly
- Blame you for the abuse that occurs
- Play mind games
- Threaten to: hurt you, take your children, harm your family, or hurt you with a weapon
- Push you, shove you, or throw objects at you
If any of these are happening to you, consider talking to someone who can help.
For information from PATHS on abuse and how to get help, visit this link:
For additional tools and resources that may assist you (see “Getting Help”), visit the PATHS Resources page:
What can I expect if I go to a shelter?
A women’s shelter (often called a transition house, interval house, safe house, or domestic violence shelter) is a safe place to stay while you work through future plans—and a place to turn to by phone if you need someone to talk to about the abuse you’ve experienced.
If you are a woman who needs to get away from an abusive situation, then you are eligible to stay, with or without children, without charge.
When you call, the staff member you talk to will ask some questions about your situation and will tell you whether there is space available. If the shelter is currently full, she will suggest other options for you.
What to expect in shelter:
- a secure facility
- private bedrooms for single women or families
- shared kitchen and living rooms
- 24 hour staff available to assist and support you
- optional group support activities
- an atmosphere of respect
Select an option under the Shelters Services search (on the right side of this website) for a list of shelters in your area.
Source (with permission):
What can I do if I am experiencing abuse but do not want to leave my home?
There are a number of agencies that can offer you counselling and support services. Select an option under the Crisis and Violence/Abuse Support search (on the right side of this website) for a list of support services in your area.
You can also receive support over the phone. For a list of 24-hour violence/abuse hotlines, visit this link:
There are also legal interventions that can help to keep you safe if you choose to stay in your own home. The Saskatchewan Victims of Domestic Violence Act gives a Justice of the Peace the power to grant an Emergency Intervention Order (EIO). With an EIO, it is possible for the victim (and family members) to remain in the home for the time being, while the abuser must leave, regardless of who owns the home. An EIO can also include provisions prohibiting the abuser from contacting you and other specified persons and other provisions necessary for your immediate safety
- Police, Victim Services units of the police, First Nations’ community case workers, and Mobile Crisis services are authorized to make applications for EIOs over the phone to a justice of the peace.
- For more information about EIOs from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice, visit this link:
What is a Victims Assistance Order?
A lawyer can assist you to apply for a Victims Assistance Order (VAO) through the Court of Queen’s Bench. With a VAO, the judge may:
- include all of the conditions that can be included in an Emergency Intervention Order
- require the perpetrator to pay the victim compensation for monetary loss suffered as a result of the abuse, including the cost of temporary accommodation or legal expenses
- grant the victim temporary possession of personal property, such as a vehicle, children’s clothing or identification documents; and
- restrain the perpetrator from contacting the victim and the victim’s family, employer, employees or co-workers.
Where can I find Information about the Legal System?
Victims of abuse and crime have special protections to help address the matter, explore their legal remedies, and connect with available support. There are additional considerations and safeguards for victims of sexual violence.
Visit the Public Legal Education Association (PLEA) website for legal information related to Abusive Relationships, Victims of Crime, and Victims of Sexual Assault.
What can I do if I have been sexually assaulted?
The first thing you need to worry about is your immediate safety. Do what you need to do to make yourself safe. It may be helpful to contact someone you trust, a sexual assault crisis line, police or hospital. Select All under the Sexual Assault Services search (on the right side of this website) for a list of sexual assault services near you.
If you have physical injuries that need to be looked after, go to a hospital.
If there has been vaginal intercourse then you need to consider the possibility of pregnancy (if that is a risk for you). You can get the emergency contraceptive pill to reduce the possibility of pregnancy. It must be taken within 5 days of being sexually assaulted. You can get this at a Planned Parenthood, a doctor’s office, walk-in clinic, or sometimes at a hospital.
Another concern may be the possibility of getting a sexually transmitted infection. Some medication can be taken immediately after an assault to prevent certain infections.
- You may choose treatment for possible exposure to Hepatitis B (if you have not had the vaccine before), which is offered at the hospital and needs to be done preferably within 48 hours of the assault
- Treatment is available for possible exposure to HIV, however it also needs to be taken within hours of the assault and is still somewhat controversial. It may be helpful to know that there is less than a 1% chance of contracting HIV from a single act of vaginal intercourse.
- You may choose to have an HIV test at some point. The waiting period is usually 14 weeks before a test can be done, however there are times when it can be done earlier if it is a concern for you. There are sites that can do this testing anonymously
Your emotional health also needs to be a concern for you. Experiencing sexual assault is very traumatizing, so consider seeking counselling from a sexual assault crisis line or agency near you to help you for your long-term healing and emotional well-being. Select All under the Sexual Assault Services search (on the right side of this website) for a list of sexual assault services near you.
To view information on the rights of victims, medical testing, the legal system, and more from PLEA, visit this link
When to call 911
If you witness domestic violence happening, like in the case of hearing violence in the apartment next to you or see a weapon being used to threaten someone, call 911 immediately.
Guide for survivors of sexual assault during COVID
Explaining the Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol
Getting Out Guide (STOPS to Violence, Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan SPCA)
A book that explains the dynamics of violence and abuse and offers information on how to leave an abusive situation.
Safety Planner (STOPS to Violence, Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan SPCA)
A short checklist to help you plan how to escape an abusive situation.
Saskatchewan Law Courts
Information on all types of courts in Saskatchewan.
Family Law Saskatchewan
Legal information to help you navigate a separation or divorce and other family matters.
PLEA (Public Legal Education Association)
Information on a variety of legal topics.
PATHS (Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan)
Information on a variety of topics related to violence/abuse.
SASS (Saskatchewan Association of Sexual Assault Services)
Information on a variety of topics related to sexual assault.
Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice
RESOLVE (Research and Education for Solutions to Violence and Abuse) Saskatchewan
Information on regional research related to gender-based violence.