Intimate Partner Violence


What is Intimate Partner Violence?

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is often called domestic violence. IPV is the use of behaviour (e.g., acts of violence, threats, or intimidation) to gain control and power over an intimate partner. An intimate partner is a current or former spouse, dating or sexual partner.

Women are most often victims of IPV, with men being the abuser. However, victims and abusers do not fit into a mold. They can be any age, gender, or sexual orientation and have any educational background or income. IPV does not look the same in every relationship.

IPV can take many forms:

  • Physical violence (e.g., hitting, choking or kicking)
  • Sexual violence (e.g., forcing sexual acts)
  • Emotional abuse (e.g., insulting, humiliating, threating to take away children, threating harm or using guilt as a tool)
  • Financial abuse (e.g., taking away money, not allowing partner to have a job)
  • Controlling behaviours (e.g., stalking, spying, not allowing partner to see family or friends or treating partner like a servant)

Abuse tends to happen more often and becomes more severe with time, especially when physical violence is involved. IPV can be deadly and anybody close to the family may be at risk of harm.

How to recognize IPV:

IPV Facts 

Help is available.

If you are experiencing violence:
  • Connect with a local shelter, staff can provide you with outreach services
  • Create a safety plan
  • Carry your charged cell phone with you
  • Find a safe room in your house

There are resources and services available to assist:


Parry Sound District – Local Services

Nipissing District – Local Services

Ontario-Wide Services

Consent is important and needed.

Consent means that a person freely and happily agrees to take part in a sexual activity. For a simple way to learn about consent, watch Consent Is As Simple As Tea.

For consent to happen, each person should be:

  • Of age, awake and aware (e.g., not impaired by drugs or alcohol)
  • Free to make their own choices. This means that no person should feel intimidated, pressured, threatened or forced.
  • Asking the other person’s consent to do each activity (e.g., Is this okay? Do you want to go any further? Do you want to slow down? Do you like this? Are you comfortable?)
  • Giving enthusiastic consent to do each activity using words and actions
  • Actively participating

Flirting, accepting a ride or a drink, or dressing a certain way does not mean consent can be assumed. Consent should never be assumed. Consent is a clear and enthusiastic “yes”! Silence, a “maybe” or a nod is not enough. If someone looks nervous, or seems unsure or uninterested, sexual activity should stop.

Forcing a person to do a sexual activity (e.g., sexual touching, kissing, intercourse) is a form of sexual assault and is a crime. 

Get consent every time.

Getting consent is needed every time, no matter how long you have been together (e.g., married for 30 years). A person has the right to decide what is right for them and what they want to do with their body.

A person may:

  • Change their mind to a “no” with words or actions, even if they said “yes” earlier
  • Say “yes” to one thing and “no” to another
  • Say “yes” one time and “no” the next time

If someone cannot give consent (e.g., because of substance use or age) then it is not consent, even if they said “yes.”

How to support someone experiencing IPV

Everyone has a role to play to end violence. If you think a family member, friend or neighbour is being abused, learn more about how you can help. If you are supporting another person, it is important that you also take care of yourself. You may experience a secondary type of trauma, called vicarious trauma.

IPV and the 2SLGBTQ+ Community

IPV happens in gender and sexual diverse communities. With the added social and legal stigma faced by the 2SLGBTQ+ community, IPV can look a bit different. To learn more, visit: 

IPV and Indigenous Communities

Violence in Indigenous communities is a direct result of colonialism. Colonialism has and is still forcing patriarchal views and disrupting Indigenous cultures and ways of living. Indigenous children were sent to residential schools, which cut off generations from their cultures, values, families and communities. These children experienced physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse. Taken from their homes, children were not able to experience the love, support and teachings of their families. The devastating impact continues to affect Indigenous communities today.  

Indigenous women face IPV by a spouse at a rate that is three times higher than for non-Indigenous women (Justice Canada, 2017). Traditionally, however, women are highly respected in Indigenous communities, considered the givers of life and the first teachers of children. 

To learn more about IPV in Indigenous communities, visit:

Consequences of IPV

IPV results in poor health outcomes. IPV victims may experience mental health issues, poor physical health and increased risk behaviours, such as:

Mental Health Issues

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Self-harm and suicide
  • Sleep disorders
  • Low self-esteem

Poor physical health

  • Cardiac symptoms such as hypertension and chest pain;
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular (heart) disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Respiratory (breathing) conditions
  • Viral infections (e.g., cold and flu)
  • Gynecological problems (e.g., sexually transmitted diseases, fibroids, pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, urinary tract infection)
  • Gastrointestinal problems due to stress
  • Reproductive problems
  • Diabetes

Increased risk behaviours

  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Unsafe sexual behavior


  • Difficulty maintaining a job
  • Difficulty trusting others

The types and severity of health outcomes can depend on the length of time and severity of the violence experienced.

IPV has negative effects on the whole family. The effects can be profound and long lasting. Children who are exposed to violence in the home are two times more likely to have behavioural problems (e.g. bullying and aggressive behaviour, limited social skills, risky behaviour), and psychiatric disorders (e.g., severe anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, bed-wetting) compared with children from non-violent homes. Later in life, these children are at a higher risk of substance abuse, juvenile pregnancy, criminal behaviour and social isolation.

North Bay

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Parry Sound

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Burk's Falls

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