Family Violence: Resources to Help

Law

There are many places in Alberta that can help victims of family violence. See the sections below to learn about:

  • Where to get help with safety planning
  • Getting help from the police
  • Finding a shelter
  • Getting help after you leave an abusive situation, and after you leave a shelter
  • Financial help for victims
  • Legal aid and other legal help for victims
  • Emotional help for victims
  • Parenting concerns (including safe visitation and monitored exchange programs)
  • Additional places that can help if you are Aboriginal, an immigrant, or LGBTQ

Choose the Process tab above for steps you can take and places that can help if you or someone you know is being abused.

Please read “Who is this Information Page for?” below to make sure you are on the right page.

LegalAve provides general legal information, not legal advice. Learn more here.

Last Reviewed: March 2017
How to be safe on the internet

It is helpful to know how to look at things on the internet safely. You might not want someone else to see what you are looking at. Or you might want to learn how to delete your internet history, which shows which sites you have looked at. You might also not feel safe looking at family violence information, especially if you are in an abusive relationship and are afraid of your abuser.

For instructions on how to look at things on the internet safely and how to delete your browser history, see the Safe Browsing page.

For more information and tips about how to be safe on the internet, see the following resources.

Web Safe Browsing Tips: Computer, Phone and Tablet
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Protecting Your Email
domesticshelters.org
English

How to be safe on the phone

It is also helpful to know how to be safe when using the phone. Sometimes, when you make calls, the call history can be seen on your phone, or someone can hit “redial” to see who you last called. Or, you might just not want someone else to hear what you are talking about or asking for help about. This is especially true if you are in an abusive relationship. You may be afraid that the abuser will find out who you have been talking to. You might not feel safe calling for help—even in your own home.

For more information and tips about how to call for help safely, see the following resources.

Web How to Call for Help Safely
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English

Web How to Spy Spyware on Your Phone
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Apps Help Survivors' Messages Stay Secret
domesticshelters.org
English
Who is this Information Page for?

This Information Page has information about resources to help victims of family violence in Alberta. Depending on your situation, you may need more information before you know what sort of help you can use. See the Information Pages below for detailed information about different issues victims of family violence may face.

For general family violence information and referrals to supports and services in your area, contact the Family Violence Info Line. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

You can also go to their website and chat online. The online chat is available every day from noon until 8:00 pm. The online chat is anonymous, which means that the person you speak to will not know who you are and you will not know who they are. The online chat is only available in English. If you would like to speak to someone in another language, it is best to talk to a staff member over the phone. See the following resource to start a chat session.

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English

See the “How to be safe on the internet” section above for information about protecting yourself online.

What the words mean

These words are not listed alphabetically—they are in the order that makes it easiest to understand the complete legal picture.

If you are looking for a specific term, you can use the Glossary, which is in alphabetical order.

family violence (also called “domestic violence” or “domestic abuse”)

Abuse of power by one person (the “abuser”) toward one or more other people that the abuser has a relationship with. It is a pattern of behaviours within a relationship of intimacy, dependency, and/or trust.

It is most common to think of family abuse happening in romantic relationships (such as dating, living together, and marriage). However, abuse can also occur in other relationships, such as those between parents and children, adult children and their parents (seniors), siblings, extended families, or people and their pets.

abuser

A person who uses their power in a relationship to control and/or harm a person with whom he or she has a relationship. The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, or financial. Abusers can be anyone, whether a friend, parent, romantic partner, adult child, or caregiver.

victim

The person who is controlled and/or hurt by someone else (the “abuser”). Victims can be anyone who is in a relationship with the abuser, such as a child, an elder, or a romantic partner. Victims may also be called “survivors.”

shelter

A safe place where victims of domestic violence can go to live on a temporary basis.

safety plan

A plan that helps you prepare and stay safe in family violence situations. A safety plan can be used in many different situations, whether you are a parent, child, partner, elder, or pet owner.

safe visitation

Generally refers to supervised access that takes place in a facility specifically intended to provide the opportunity for visits under the supervision of trained staff and volunteers.

monitored exchange (also called “safe transfer”)

Monitored exchange programs provide a neutral location for supervised exchange of children from one parent to another. This may be necessary in situations of family violence, where one parent is not comfortable meeting the other parent to exchange the children for parenting time or visitation.

Starting points: What kinds of help do you need?

There are many issues that arise when you are dealing with family violence, including medical needs, legal issues, financial concerns, and more.

If you are dealing with family violence and you don’t know where to start, the following resources can help. The rest of this Information Page also has many more resources and topics to consider.

Web What Can You Do?
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Tools to Help (Abused women)
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF It Starts Today
Today Family Violence Help Centre
English

Web Get help with family violence
Government of Canada
English


PDF Women's Rights for a Safer Tomorrow
Medicine Hat College Public Legal Education (via Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society)
English

Web Provincial and Territorial Helplines and Websites
Government of Alberta
English


Web Domestic Violence: Useful Websites for Alberta
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Helping Clients with Legal Issues: Legal Information for Frontline Service Providers
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
See p. 17-30.

Interactive Find Services: Select Areas of Need
Victim Justice Network
English

Interactive Find Information: Select Types of Crime
Victim Justice Network
English

Web Surviving the System Handbook: Advice on Using the Legal System if you are a Survivor of Sexual Violence
Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children
English

For general family violence information and referrals to supports and services in your area, contact the Family Violence Info Line. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

You can also go to their website and chat online. The online chat is available every day from noon until 8:00 pm. The online chat is anonymous, which means that the person you speak to will not know who you are and you will not know who they are. The online chat is only available in English. If you would like to speak to someone in another language, it is best to talk to a staff member over the phone. See the following resource to start a chat session.

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English

For information about what to expect when you call a hotline for help, see the following resource.

Web Calling a Hotline: What You Can Expect
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.
Help with safety planning

Safety planning is a way to prepare yourself for dealing with or leaving an abusive situation. It can be used for you alone, or for you and your children, if you have any.

Leaving an abusive relationship can be very dangerous. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a safety plan so that you know:

  • where you can go;
  • who you can talk to; and
  • what you need to take with you.

For detailed information about what to include in a safety plan, and sample safety plans for many different family violence situations, see the Safety Planning Information Page.

If you need some help deciding what to include in your safety plan, there are professionals who can guide you through the process. See the following resource for a list of organizations in Alberta that may be able to help.

Web Leaving Crime and Abuse
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

The Today Centre in Edmonton offers help with safety planning as well. For more information, see the following resource.

Web Need Help?
Today Family Violence Resource Centre
English

You can also speak with staff at a shelter. Shelters are places where victims of family violence can go to live on a temporary basis after leaving a violent situation. Staff members at shelters have lots of experience helping people to be safe. See the following resource to contact someone at a shelter near you.

Web Alberta Council of Women's Shelters: Contact Us
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English

Your local police can also tell you what steps you can take to be safe in your area.

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

Web Victim resources - Domestic violence
Calgary Police Service
English

Web Edmonton Police Service: Victim Services
Edmonton Police Service
English

A good starting place is the Family Violence Info Line. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

Phone apps that can help you stay safer

Your phone can be a useful tool to stay safe in a family violence situation. See the following resources for descriptions of apps that may be able to help you before or after leaving a violent relationship.




Web Apps: YWCA Safety Siren
YWCA Canada
English

Web New App Detects Dangerous Relationships
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Apps Help Survivors' Messages Stay Secret
domesticshelters.org
English
Getting help from the police: Calling 911, police escorts, and protective orders

Calling 911

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, you should call 911. If you can’t call 911 before the abuse happens, you can call 911 as soon as possible after the abuse happens, or when it is safe to do so.

Be Aware

All phones work for calling 911. This is true even if your phone doesn’t have a service plan, you don’t have any minutes, or you don’t have a SIM card.

When calling 911, there are a few important things you should mention over the phone.

  • The person who answers will ask you whether you want the fire department, the police, or an ambulance. If you don’t know which service you need, explain your situation to the person who answered the phone and they will help.
  • Say your name
  • Give them your address or location
  • Tell them why you need help with as much detail as possible
  • If it is safe to do so, don’t hang up the phone

For more tips about calling 911, see the following resource.

​​​​​​

What will happen if you call 911

If you call 911 to report family violence, the police will ask you for information about what has happened.

The more information you can give the police, the better. For example:

  • what exactly is happening;
  • which people or animals are being threatened or hurt; and
  • whether there are any weapons involved.

The police will then let you know if they can come out to the place where the violence is happening, and how soon. They may have other instructions for you.

When the police come out, they will likely have more questions for you about what happened. The police might decide to charge the abusive person with a crime if they believe that a crime was committed.

For information about what kinds of abuse are considered “crimes” in Canada, see the following resources.

Web It's Not Allowed
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web What does the law say about... (different types of abuse)
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English


For a detailed summary of what can happen if you call the police, see the following resources.

Web When They Show Up (Getting the Police Involved)
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF It Starts Today
Today Family Violence Help Centre
English
See “Contacting the Police.”

Web Getting the Police Involved
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
This resource deals specifically with elder abuse, but the information applies to other kinds of family violence as well.

PDF Getting Help from the Police or RCMP
Legal Services Society
Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Punjabi, Spanish
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.


Web Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights
Student Legal Services of Edmonton
English
See “Getting The Police Involved.”

PDF Victims of Family Violence: Information and Rights
Government of Alberta
English
See p. 7-8.

PDF Alberta Police Services and Women's Shelters Working Relationship Guidelines
Government of Alberta
English
This resource is written for police and shelter staff, but has good information about what police and shelter staff can do for you if you need their help.

Web How Police Are Trained to Respond to Domestic Violence
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Police escorts

Many people have to leave an abusive situation quickly and do not have time to take anything with them. If you are afraid of going back to the abusive home that you left, you can ask the police to escort you there while you go get some of the personal belongings that you left behind. It might not be safe going back to the home alone, but might be safer with a police officer.

Be Aware

A police escort is for personal belongings that you need right away. For example: medication, clothing, toiletries, and things you need for work. The police might also be able to tell you what you are allowed to take with you and what you aren’t allowed to take with you.

For more information about what types of service might be available in your area, contact your local police force.

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

Protective orders

If you are afraid that your abuser will continue to hurt you, you can apply for a protective order. Depending on what kind of protective order you want, the police may be able to help with this. There are different types of protective orders depending on your situation.

For detailed information about your options, see the Protective Orders Information Page.

Emergency transportation

Shelters, the police, or other organizations may be able to help you get away from an abusive situation and get you to a safe place (such as a shelter or a safe house). This is especially true in more urban areas.

For more information about help available in your area, you can call 211 and see the following resources.

PDF There is help. There is hope.
Edmonton Police Service
English

Web More Resources (Calgary area)
The Women's Centre
English

Web Alberta Council of Women's Shelters: Contact Us
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English
Housing issues and finding a shelter

If you rent: Breaking your lease without penalty

Leaving an abusive relationship often means that you must leave the home you shared with your abuser. If you signed a lease for the home, you may be concerned about your legal responsibilities if you leave.

Alberta’s Residential Tenancies Act has recently changed. Now victims of abuse are allowed to break their lease early, without a financial penalty. To do this, you must give your landlord a certificate from the Alberta government’s Safer Spaces Processing Centre. The Safer Spaces Processing Centre can give you this certificate if you give them one of the following:

  • a copy of a protective order from a court (such as an Emergency Protection Order, Queen’s Bench Protection Order, restraining order, or peace bond); OR
  • a letter from a “certified professional” confirming that you or your children are in danger.

For more information about who is a “certified professional” and other rules that apply, see the following resources.

PDF Renting and Domestic Violence: Ending Your Lease Early
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Safer Spaces certificate to end tenancy
Government of Alberta
English


PDF Information for Tenants
Government of Alberta
English
See p. 12.

Shelters

A shelter is a safe place where victims of domestic violence can go to live on a temporary basis. There are many different shelters throughout the province.

Certain shelters may only be for women, for women and children, or for men. There are even shelters for seniors who are being abused.

Also, some shelters are only for short-term stays (usually 3 weeks or less), while other shelters may be able to house you for longer periods of time.

  • Short-term shelters are usually called “emergency shelters”
  • Longer-term shelters are usually called “second-stage shelters”

For more information about shelters and things to think about when deciding whether to go to a shelter, see the following resources. Note that these resources are from the United States, but the same general information applies in Alberta too.


Web Escape Plan: How to Find a Safe Place
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Important Questions to Ask a Shelter
domesticshelters.org
English
Tip

Sometimes shelters don't have room, but they can direct you to more resources in your community. Don't be discouraged if the first shelter you talk to doesn't have room at that time.

For more information about shelters in your area, see the following resources.

Web ACWS member shelters
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English

Web Emergency Shelters
Government of Alberta
English

Web Family Violence Resources
The Healing Journey
English

Web Transition Houses in Alberta
Battered Women's Support Services
English

Web Programs and Services
Central Alberta Women's Emergency Shelter
English

Web Kerby Rotary Shelter
Kerby Centre
English

Web Safe House Intake
Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton
English

Interactive Domestic Violence Shelters Search
domesticshelters.org
English

Exclusive possession of the family home

You may be able to apply in court for “exclusive possession” of the family home. This means you are given the right to stay in the home for a period of time, while your partner has to leave. The order can also include household goods and a vehicle.

There are organizations that can help you apply for exclusive possession. For more information, see the “Legal help for victims of family violence” section below.

For more information about applying for exclusive possession, see one of the following Information Pages.

After you leave (including after you leave a shelter)

Leaving an abusive relationship is hard. Often, there are pressures that can pull you back into the abusive situation. For example:

  • It can feel scary and lonely to start again on your own.
  • The abuser may be very apologetic and say things like “I can’t live without you.”
  • The abusive behaviour comes and goes. You remember the good times and try to forget the bad times.
  • You love the abuser despite their bad behaviour. You think you can help them change.
  • You may have few supports in your life. Perhaps your abuser cut you off from family and friends. Or maybe you have moved to a new place where you don’t know many people.

Even if you have gone to a shelter, these pressures may continue to be there. Usually, you can only stay in a shelter for a short time. Shelter staff can help you find housing and make plans for the longer term. You can ask for help.

You took a strong stand for yourself by leaving and getting yourself to safety. You can continue to build a life free from abuse.

For more information about moving on from abuse, see the following resources. Note that these resources are from the United States, but the general information still applies in Alberta.

Tip

You may also be interested in the “Emotional help for victims” section below.

Web Staying Strong After Leaving the Shelter
domesticshelters.org
English


Web Recovery After a Controlling Relationship
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Moving On Emotionally After An Abusive Relationship
National Domestic Violence Hotline
English

Web I’m Out – So Now What?
theSingleMother.com
English

Web Reasons Women Return to Abusive Relationships
EmpowHER
English
This is a private source. Learn more here.

Web When Your Support System Isn't Clear
domesticshelters.org
English
If you are considering going back to your abuser

After leaving, victims of domestic violence sometimes go back to their abuser. There are many reasons that this happens. Everyone who returns hopes that the abuser will change and that the abuse will end.

For more information about whether abusers can change, see the following resources.

Web Can abusers change?
Respect Phoneline
English

Financial help for victims of family violence

Abusive people often control the family’s money and finances. The section has information about:

  • Financial help so you can leave an abusive relationship
  • Protecting your finances after leaving an abusive relationship
  • Financial compensation and benefits if you are a victim of crime

Financial help so you can leave

After you leave an abusive relationship, you may find that you need financial help to rebuild your life or get back on your feet. For an overview of your options, see the following resources.

PDF If you Leave...Your Guide to Financial Support Options
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF It Starts Today
Today Family Violence Help Centre
English
See “Financial Benefits Available.”

To apply for help from the Alberta Works Supports for Albertans Fleeing Abuse program, see the following resources.

PDF Supports for Albertans Fleeing Abuse
Government of Alberta
English

Web Alberta Works Contact Centres
Government of Alberta
English

For more information on other services that Alberta Works provides, see the following resource.

Web Alberta Works
Government of Alberta
English

There may be community services in your area that can help you set up your new home. See the following resources for more information.


Web About Connect: How Connect Works
Connect Family & Sexual Abuse Network
English

Interactive 211 Alberta
211 Alberta
English

Protecting your finances after leaving an abusive relationship

Abusers often control the family’s money and finances. You may not have had any role in saving and investing money. Therefore, after you leave an abusive relationship, you may find that you need to learn about how to protect and build your financial future.

For more information, see the following resources.

After domestic violence in particular

Note that these resources are from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Money Learning Centre Modules
KW Counselling Services
English

Web Do You Know Where Your Money Is?
domesticshelters.org
English


Web Financial Resources
Battered Women's Support Services
English

Audio/Web 

Web I’m Out – So Now What?
theSingleMother.com
English
Because this resource is from the United States, the contact information for the credit agencies do not apply in Canada.

Presentation Rebuilding Financially After Domestic Violence: Gaining Financial Self-Sufficiency
National Endowment for Financial Education
English
See the links at the bottom of the page to download the materials. Note that these resources will automatically download onto your computer when you click on them: only look at these resources on a safe computer.


PDF Money problems with your partner? Dealing with financial abuse
Women’s Information and Referral Exchange Inc.
English
See p. 5-9.

Interactive Moving Ahead Through Financial Management Curriculum
National Network to End Domestic Violence
English, Spanish
See Module 1, Module 2, and Module 5.

 

General information about taking care of your finances  

Web Money and finances
Government of Canada
English

Web Canadian Financial Literacy Database
Government of Canada
English

Web Personal Finance
Practical Money Skills Canada
English

Web Consumer Materials
Practical Money Skills Canada
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Punjabi, Spanish

Web Financial Literacy Facilitator Resources
Prosper Canada
Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Vietnamese

Web Our Services
Money Mentors
English

Interactive Money Management Tools for Newcomers
Prosper Canada
English
Although this resource is written for recent immigrants, there is good general information about money management for everyone.

French resources

Web Argent et finances
Government of Canada
French


Web Finances personnelles
Practical Money Skills Canada
French

Calgary area

Web Manage and Save Your Money
Momentum Community Economic Development Society
English

Edmonton area

Web Empower U
United Way
English

Financial compensation and benefits if you are a victim of crime

If you are the victim of a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada, you may be able to apply for financial compensation.

There are 2 kinds of compensation for victims of crime in Alberta:

  1. Restitution for financial losses
  2. Financial benefits for physical or emotional injuries

These are described in detail just below. You may qualify for both of these options.

Tip

If you do not qualify for these benefits, you may still be able to sue for compensation under the civil law. For more information about this, see the information above and the Family Violence: How Criminal and Civil Law Can Help Information Page.

Restitution

This is a court-ordered payment from the abuser to the victim, to pay for the victim’s financial losses. For example:

  • property damage or loss;
  • physical or emotional harm that led to financial loss; or
  • expenses from having to move out.

Restitution is only ordered if the abuser is found guilty of the crime. The victim can apply for restitution, and if the judge agrees, it can be included as part of the abuser’s sentence.

For more information about restitution, see the following resources.

PDF Restitution for Victims of Crime
Government of Alberta
English

Web Help for victims of crime
Government of Alberta
English
See “Apply for restitution.”

PDF Victims of Crime Handbooks (available in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrigna, and Vietnamese)
Government of Alberta
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Vietnamese

 

Financial benefits

This is a payment from Victims’ Services to the victim, to recognize that they were physically or emotionally injured as a result of a crime in Alberta. This benefit does not pay for financial losses related to the crime. Instead, it is a pre-set amount based on how severe your injuries were. Your injuries may be physical or emotional, but they must be verified by a medical professional who treated you (a doctor or counsellor).

You can apply for financial benefits even if the abuser is not criminally charged or convicted. However:

  • the crime must be reported to the police within a reasonable time; and
  • you will usually need to apply within 2 years of crime. If the victim was under 18 when the crime occurred, they have until they are 28 years old to apply.

For more information about who is eligible for the Financial Benefits Program, see the following resources.

PDF Financial Benefits for Victims of Violent Crime
Government of Alberta
English

Web Help for victims of crime
Government of Alberta
English
See “Apply for financial benefits.”

Audio/Web Victims of Crime
Calgary Legal Guidance
English

PDF Victims of Crime Handbooks (available in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrigna, and Vietnamese)
Government of Alberta
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Vietnamese

The full list of eligible offences and injuries is in the Victims of Crime Regulation. See the following resource.

Web Victims of Crime Act (and its associated Regulation)
Government of Alberta
English
See “Victims of Crime Regulation.”

Be Aware

If the abuse happened outside of Alberta, you are not eligible for the Financial Benefits Program. However, you may still be able to get restitution or other help from the province where the crime happened. For more information about your options, see the following resources.

Web Victim’s right to seek restitution
Government of Canada
English

Web Droit de demander un dédommagement
Government of Canada
French

Web A Guide to Financial Assistance for Victims
Victims of Violence
English

Web Financial Assistance
Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
English

Web Aide financière
Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
French

 

More information about restitution and Financial Benefits

For more general information about both of these options, see the following resources.

PDF If you Leave...Your Guide to Financial Support Options
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Help for victims of crime
Government of Alberta
English

PDF It Starts Today
Today Family Violence Help Centre
English
See p. 10.

Web Compensation for Crimes
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

 

Making a claim under the Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Act

Alberta’s Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Act sets up a process for the government to recover property that is said to have been obtained by an illegal act. It allows a “Civil Forfeiture Office” to ask the court to seize property obtained illegally as well as property used to carry out illegal acts.

The victim can apply under this Act even if the accused has not yet been convicted of a crime. However, there must have been an investigation of the illegal act.

Legal help for victims of family violence

If you are dealing with legal issues as a result of family violence, there are organizations that can help you through the process.

The rest of this section has information about:

  • Getting help applying for a protective order
  • Getting help from a lawyer (including legal aid and other low-cost options)
  • General legal help across Alberta
Tip

When getting legal help, you will need to make some important decisions. For information about why this may be especially difficult, and steps you can take to help this process, see the following resource.

Help applying for a protective order

In Alberta, there are several organizations that help victims of family violence get certain kinds of protective orders. You do not need to apply for a protective order on your own. These organizations can explain your legal options to you and may be able to help with the paperwork and court hearings.

For example:

  • During business hours, Legal Aid Alberta’s Family Law Office offers free help through its Emergency Protection Order Program (EPOP).
  • For emergencies and after business hours, you can contact the police. They can also help you apply for an Emergency Protection Order.

For more information about protective orders, see the Protective Orders Information Page.

For more information about who can help, see the following resources.


Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

PDF What you need to know about... Emergency Protection Orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Find a detachment
Government of Canada
English

Web Localiser un détachement
Government of Canada
French

Web Victim Service Units
Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association
English

Web Help for victims of crime
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English

Help from a lawyer

You may want to think about speaking with a family law lawyer. A lawyer can:

  • discuss your legal options with you;
  • give you advice about the things you could ask for in court; and
  • can appear in court for you if you don’t feel comfortable being in court with the abuser.

Legal Aid Alberta

If you have a low income, you may qualify for financial help to cover the cost of a lawyer and court fees through Legal Aid Alberta.

Be Aware

Legal Aid is not free. If you qualify for a Legal Aid lawyer, you will get discounted rates and will be able to pay your bill over time without interest.

For more information about the services offered by Legal Aid Alberta, see the following resources.

Web Services & Eligibility
Legal Aid Alberta
English

PDF Legal Aid Alberta: Services for Albertans
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Web Frequently Asked Questions
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Web Working with your lawyer
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Web Legal Aid
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

For more information about who qualifies for legal aid, see the Legal Aid Alberta eligibility guidelines. Even if you are unsure about whether you qualify, you can always contact Legal Aid for information about what services they can offer you.

Web Getting Legal Aid - Eligibility
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Web Legal Aid Alberta: Contact Us
Legal Aid Alberta
English

 

Free consultations through the Lawyer Referral Service

You can meet with up to 3 lawyers for 30-minute consultations about your matter for free. This Lawyer Referral Service is offered through the Law Society of Alberta. See the following resource for more information.

Web Find a Lawyer
Law Society of Alberta
English

 

Community legal centres

There are organizations across Alberta that help people with their legal matters, including family violence and family law. For more information about these, see the Community Legal Resources & Legal Aid Information Page.
 

More information

For more information about how lawyers can help in family violence situations, see the Working with a Lawyer Information Page and the following resources.

PDF Working with a Family Law Lawyer
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Webinar Looking for a Family Law Lawyer
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Video Family Law: Family Violence Part 2
People's Law School (via YouTube)
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Looking for a Lawyer? Advice for finding the right attorney for you and your case
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web How can I help my clients have a good working relationship with their lawyer?
Luke's Place
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

More legal help

For more general legal help in your area, see the following resources and the Community Legal Resources & Legal Aid Information Page.

Help across Alberta

Web Resolution and Court Administration Services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Victim Service Units
Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association
English

Web Help for victims of crime
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police services
Government of Alberta
English

Web Police Agencies in Canada: Alberta
myPolice.ca
English

PDF Victim of Crime Handbook: English
Government of Alberta
English

PDF Information for Victims of Crime
Government of Alberta
English

Interactive Search the Victim Services Directory
Government of Canada
English

 

Help in the Calgary area

Web Victim resources - Domestic violence
Calgary Police Service
English

PDF Quick Reference Guide: Legal
The Women's Centre
English

Web Victim resources - Assault, harassment and threats
Calgary Police Service
English

Web Medicine Hat Legal Help Centre
Medicine Hat Legal Help Centre
English

 

Help in the Edmonton area

Web Criminal Harassment
Edmonton Police Service
English

 

Help in central Alberta

Web Programs and Services
Central Alberta Women's Emergency Shelter
English
Parenting issues: Safe visitation and monitored exchange programs

Sometimes, during a separation or divorce, there can be concerns about the safety of children when they are spending time with a parent or another person who has contact.

In many communities, there are programs that will help keep everyone safe. For example:

  • Safe visitation” means children can visit the parent/person in a controlled location and under supervision.
  • Monitored exchange” is another option when people are uncomfortable exchanging children. Monitored exchange programs provide a neutral location and supervised exchange of the children. This may also be called “safe transfer.”

The Alberta government has a Safe Visitation Program operating in Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Red Deer, and Whitecourt. For more information, see the following resource.

Web Safe Visitation
Government of Alberta
English

Safe visitation and monitored exchange is also offered by other private organizations—most are offered in larger centres (see examples in the list below). Your local branch of Child and Family Services will be able to tell you if there other organizations in your area that provide this kind of service.

Interactive Child and Family Services
Government of Alberta
English

Calgary


Web Our Services
Families First Support Services
English

Web Men's Educational Support Association
Men's Educational Support Association
English

Web Pathways Programs
Pathways Community Services Association
English

Edmonton

Web The Family Centre
The Family Centre
English

Grande Prairie

Web What we do
P.A.C.E.
English
See “Monitored Exchange” and “Safe Visitation” on the right of the screen.

Lethbridge

Web YWCA Lethbridge and District Safe Visitation Program
YWCA Lethbridge and District
English

Red Deer

PDF Safe Visitation & Monitored Exchange
Women's Outreach
English

Web Safe Visitation Program
Women's Outreach
English

Web Monitored Exchange Program
Women's Outreach
English

Whitecourt

Web Safe Visitation
McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association
English

Reserves

Some reserves (for example: the Blood Reserve) offer safe transfer service for their residents or band members. Contact your Delegated First Nation Agency to see if your reserve has any such programs.

Web Delegated First Nations Agencies
Government of Alberta
English
Help for abused women

If you are a woman dealing with family violence, there are resources to help.


PDF Women Abused in Intimate Relationships
Government of Alberta
English
See p. 16.

Web Tools to Help (Abused women)
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web More Resources (Calgary area)
The Women's Centre
English

Web Do You NEED Connect?
Connect Family & Sexual Abuse Network
English

Interactive Links to Women's Resources
University of Calgary
English

Web Victim resources - Domestic violence
Calgary Police Service
English

You can also contact the Family Violence Info Line for more information about services and support. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

You can also go to their website and chat online. The online chat is available every day from noon until 8:00 pm. The online chat is anonymous, which means that the person you speak to will not know who you are and you will not know who they are. The online chat is only available in English. If you would like to speak to someone in another language, it is best to talk to a staff member over the phone. See the following resource to start a chat session.

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English
Help for abused children

If you are a child and you want to talk to someone, you can call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1‑800‑387‑5437 (KIDS) to speak with a caseworker. You can also call or chat with someone at Kids Help Phone—see the following resource for more information.

Web What is Kids Help Phone?
Kids Help Phone
English

If you think that you are in immediate danger, call 911.

If you are an adult, you are required to report child abuse. Under Alberta law, anyone who has “reasonable and probable grounds” to believe that a child is being abused, or is at risk of being abused, must report it. This is part of Alberta’s Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.

Children rely on adults to keep them safe. Also, if you do not report suspected abuse, you could be fined up to $2,000.

Child abuse can include:

  • neglect;
  • emotional abuse;
  • physical abuse (including medical abuse); or
  • sexual abuse.

For detailed information about these types of abuse, see the Child Abuse Information Page.

To make a report, contact a caseworker at your local Child and Family Services Authority or Delegated First Nation Agency. See the following resource for more information.

Web How can I help?
Government of Alberta
English
Help for elder abuse victims

If you are an older person dealing with family violence, there are resources to help.

Web Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network
Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network
English
See “Getting Help” on the top of the page, and choose your community.
   
Web Elder Abuse Resources
Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton
English
 
Web Elder Abuse Publications
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
 
Web Elder abuse resources
Government of Alberta
English
 
Web Stop Elder Abuse
City of Edmonton
English
 
Web How to Help Abused Seniors
Edmonton Police Service
English

PDF Connecting Elders from Ethno-cultural Communties (available in Amharic, Arabic, English, Farsi, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Spanish, Tigrinya, Urdu, and Vietnamese)
Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary
Arabic, English, Farsi, Gujarati, Korean, Polish, Punjabi, Spanish, Urdu, Vietnamese, Other languages

Web Elder / Senior Citizen Abuse Support
Catholic Social Services
English

PDF Red Deer - Elder Abuse Crisis Interventions
Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network
English

There are also shelters for victims of elder abuse. For more information, see the following resources.

Web Kerby Rotary Shelter
Kerby Centre
English

Web Safe House Intake
Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton
English

You can also contact the Family Violence Info Line for more information about services and support. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

You can also go to their website and chat online. The online chat is available every day from noon until 8:00 pm. The online chat is anonymous, which means that the person you speak to will not know who you are and you will not know who they are. The online chat is only available in English. If you would like to speak to someone in another language, it is best to talk to a staff member over the phone. See the following resource to start a chat session.

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English

If you are an older person planning to leave a violent situation, there are safety plans specific to elder abuse victims. See the Safety Planning Information Page for more information.

For more information about elder abuse, see the Elder Abuse Information Page.

Help for LGBTQ victims of abuse

If you are LGBTQ and dealing with family violence, see the following resource about who can help.

PDF Abuse in Same-Sex and LGBTQ Relationships
Government of Alberta
English

You can also contact the Family Violence Info Line for more information about services and support. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

You can also go to their website and chat online. The online chat is available every day from noon until 8:00 pm. The online chat is anonymous, which means that the person you speak to will not know who you are and you will not know who they are. The online chat is only available in English. If you would like to speak to someone in another language, it is best to talk to a staff member over the phone. See the following resource to start a chat session.

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English
Help for abused men

If you are a man who is being abused, you can contact any emergency shelter. They may be able to help you, or they may refer you to someone who can. For contact information, see the following resource.

Web Alberta Council of Women's Shelters: Contact Us
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English

The Wheatland Shelter in Strathmore can help men, whether or not they have children. See the following resource for contact information.​

Web Shelter & Services for Men
Wheatland Crisis Society
English

See the following resources for more services to help abused men in Alberta.​

Web Resources for Men
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
​​
Web Male Domestic Abuse Outreach Program
Calgary Counselling Centre
English

Web Men's Support Services
City of Edmonton
English

You can also contact the Family Violence Info Line for more information about services and support. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

You can also go to their website and chat online. The online chat is available every day from noon until 8:00 pm. The online chat is anonymous, which means that the person you speak to will not know who you are and you will not know who they are. The online chat is only available in English. If you would like to speak to someone in another language, it is best to talk to a staff member over the phone. See the following resource to start a chat session.

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English
Help if you are dealing with immigration issues

Family violence can also happen to people who are not Canadian citizens, including temporary foreign workers and those in the process of immigrating to Canada.

If you are new to Canada, domestic violence can be even more complicated. For example, asking for help may be more difficult if English is your second language. Some immigrant victims might also think that violence is normal and allowed in Canada.

If you are experiencing abuse, you are not alone. This can be a scary situation because you might be afraid about how the abusive relationship will affect your immigration status.

For general information about family violence in the immigrant community and who can help, see the following resources.

Web Rose's Story
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Tools to Help (Immigrant women)
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Ethno-cultural Communities (Information sheets and audio about family violence)
Government of Alberta
Arabic, Blackfoot, Chinese, Farsi, French, Plains Cree, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu, Vietnamese

PDF Victims of Crime Handbooks (available in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrigna, and Vietnamese)
Government of Alberta
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Vietnamese

PDF Help for Victims of Crime: English Express
Government of Alberta
English

Audio Family Violence Information Line: 170 Languages
Government of Alberta
English

For more detailed information on family violence and immigration, see the “IRCC options when there is family violence” section of the Family Breakdown & the Immigration Process Information Page.

Province-wide

Web Current Members
Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies
English

Interactive Find free newcomer services near you
Government of Canada
English


Web Newcomer services
Government of Alberta
English
 
Web Immigration and Refugee Law
Legal Aid Alberta
English

Web Immigration and Settlement Service
Catholic Social Services
English

Web Find help to adjust – Refugees
Government of Canada
English

Calgary area

Web Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
English

Web Family Services
Calgary Immigrant Women's Association
English

Web Centre for Newcomers Legal Clinic
Pro Bono Law Alberta
English

Web Our Services
Immigrant Services Calgary
English

Web Programs
Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary
English

PDF Connecting Elders from Ethno-cultural Communties (available in Amharic, Arabic, English, Farsi, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Spanish, Tigrinya, Urdu, and Vietnamese)
Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary
Arabic, English, Farsi, Gujarati, Korean, Polish, Punjabi, Spanish, Urdu, Vietnamese, Other languages

Edmonton area

Web Programs & Services
Edmonton Community Legal Centre
English
See “Immigration Law Program.”


Web Fostering healthy families
Islamic Family and Social Services Association
English
 
 
Web Indo-Canadian Women's Association
Indo-Canadian Women's Association
English
 
Web Services and Programs
Edmonton Immigrant Services Association
English

Web Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
English

Central Alberta

Web Our Services
Central Alberta Refugee Effort
English
 
Web Programs & Services
Central Alberta Immigrant Women's Association
English

Northern Alberta

Web Grande Prairie Centre for Newcomers: Member Events
Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce
English

Web Immigrant Settlement Services
YMCA of Northern Alberta
English

Southern Alberta

Web Immigrant Services
Lethbridge Family Services
English
 
Web Saamis Immigration Services Association - Programs
Saamis Immigration Services Association
English
Help if you are Aboriginal

There are many different services available for Aboriginal people in family violence situations.

Native Counselling Services of Alberta

Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) has programs and services for Aboriginal families dealing with family violence. NCSA has family court workers who help Aboriginal families get appropriate help.

For more information, see the following resource.

Web Programs
Native Counselling Services of Alberta
English

Native Friendship Centres

Native Friendship Centres help people who are abused and people who are abusive get access to different programs and services.

For more information on Native Friendship Centres and where to find them, see the following resource.

Web Friendship Centres
National Association of Friendship Centres
English

Métis Settlements Child and Family Services

The Métis Settlements Child and Family Services is for people who live on a Métis Settlement. This service helps Métis community members get in contact with a Positive Living Outreach Worker who can help them with support or referral services for their particular situations.

For more information on Métis Settlements Child and Family Services, see the following resources.

Web Métis Settlements
Government of Alberta
English

Web Programs & Services
Metis Child and Family Services Edmonton
English

More help

There are organizations across the province that work with Aboriginal community members on many issues, including legal problems. Contact the organizations below to see what help they can offer you for your situation

Web Family Violence Resources
The Healing Journey
English

PDF Alberta Women's Shelters: A Path to Healing
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English
​​
Web Aboriginal Resources
Catholic Social Services
English
​​
Web Programs
Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary
English
​​
Web Siksika Nation
Legal Aid Alberta
English
​​
PDF National Forum on Community Safety and Ending Violence
Native Women's Association of Canada
English
See “List of Resources for Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls” at the end of the booklet.

There are other people you can contact for help or more information, including:

  • the RCMP;
  • tribal police;
  • an Elder in the community;
  • a health care professional or other trusted professional; or
  • the Family Violence Info Line. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.
Help if you are part of a specific cultural community

Abuse happens to people in all parts of society, no matter what their ethnic background or religion is.

For more information and who can help, see the following resources.

PDF Ethno-cultural Communities (Information sheets and audio about family violence)
Government of Alberta
Arabic, Blackfoot, Chinese, Farsi, French, Plains Cree, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu, Vietnamese
 
Web Domestic Violence
Jewish Family Service Calgary
English
 
PDF Connecting Elders from Ethno-cultural Communties (available in Amharic, Arabic, English, Farsi, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Spanish, Tigrinya, Urdu, and Vietnamese)
Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary
Arabic, English, Farsi, Gujarati, Korean, Polish, Punjabi, Spanish, Urdu, Vietnamese, Other languages

Web Indo-Canadian Women's Association
Indo-Canadian Women's Association
English

Audio Family Violence Information Line: 170 Languages
Government of Alberta
English
Help if you have pets

If you are dealing with family violence and have a pet, you may be concerned about your pet’s safety as well.

Shelters might not allow pets inside. However, you may be able to use a “pet safekeeping” program in your area instead. These programs will temporarily care for your pet until you find housing that allows pets.

For information on pet safekeeping programs in Alberta, see the following resources.

Web Pet Safekeeping
Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
English

Web Community Outreach
Central Alberta Humane Society
English
See “Emergency Boarding Program.”​
​ ​
Web Petsafe Keeping
Calgary Humane Society
English

For detailed information about safety planning with pets, see the Process tab of the Safety Planning Information Page.

You may also be able to include pets in a protective order. For information, see the Protective Orders Information Page.

Emotional help for victims

You can always contact the Family Violence Info Line for more information about services and support. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

You can also go to their website and chat online. The online chat is available every day from noon until 8:00 pm. The online chat is anonymous, which means that the person you speak to will not know who you are and you will not know who they are. The online chat is only available in English. If you would like to speak to someone in another language, it is best to talk to a staff member over the phone. See the following resource to start a chat session.

Web Find Supports and Services
Government of Alberta
English
Remember

It’s okay to get help. Even though you might not see physical signs of this type of abuse (such as cuts and bruises), emotional abuse is also wrong. It can be just as damaging as physical abuse, or even more so. There are many people who want to help and who you can talk to.

For general tips on recovering from family violence, see the following resources. Note that these resources are from the United States, but the same general information applies in Alberta too.

Tip

If you have just left an abusive relationship or just left a shelter, you may also want to see the “After you leave” section above.



Web Articles and Blog
isurvive.org
English

Web How to Recover from Emotional Abuse
theSingleMother.com
English
 


Web Using Drugs and Alcohol to Cope with Abuse
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Recovering from Life with a Psychopath
domesticshelters.org
English

 

Leaving any relationship can lead to major changes in your life. If you are prepared for what’s to come, it can help you recover from your abusive relationship more quickly. For an overview of things to consider when leaving a relationship, see the following resources.

PDF Moving On: A Practical Guide for Women Leaving a Relationship
Government of Prince Edward Island
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Aller de l’avant: Guide pratique à l’intention des femmes qui décident de mettre fin à une relation
Government of Prince Edward Island
French
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

 

The following resources will direct you to some places that you can contact to get more information on community supports, such as counselling or mental health support programs. You can also talk your doctor. They can refer you to a specialist to work through your emotional issues.

Help across Alberta

 
Web Safety & Community Supports
Government of Alberta
English

Web Provincial and Territorial Helplines and Websites
Government of Alberta
English
 
Web Domestic Violence: Other Places To Get Help
Government of Alberta
English
 
Web YWCA Turning Point Programs
YWCA Canada
English

Regional resources

In addition to the province-wide resources listed above, some organizations can help within their community.

Calgary area

PDF Calgary Community Services Guide
City of Calgary
English

Web Direct Services
Peer Support Services
English

Web Victim resources - Domestic violence
Calgary Police Service
English

 

Edmonton area

PDF Counselling Services
City of Calgary
English

Web Women's Support Services
City of Edmonton
English

Web Need Help?
Today Family Violence Resource Centre
English

 

Central Alberta

PDF Family Violence Resources: Red Deer & Area
Women's Outreach
English

Web Contact Information
Women's Outreach
English

Web Programs and Services
Central Alberta Women's Emergency Shelter
English

 

Northern Alberta

Web Domestic Violence
Peace Regional Victim Services
English
See “Support Services in your Community.”

Web Waypoints
Waypoints
English

 

Southern Alberta

PDF Family Centre Information Package: Abuse
The Family Centre
English

PDF When You Need Help
Canadian Mental Health Association
English

Process

Because each organization and community is different, there is no specific “process” to follow to get in touch with your local family violence resources. Please see the Law tab of this Information Page for general information about family violence resources in Alberta, as well as contact details for you to get in touch with the organizations and services that can help you work through your family violence issues.

Last Reviewed: February 2016

Provincial Court

Queen's Bench

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