Government of New Brunswick
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What is domestic, intimate partner violence?

Domestic violence is defined as any violent, threatening, dominating, coercive or controlling behavior between family members, and includes intimate partner violence between past or present partners. Domestic, intimate partner violence also includes the deprivation of food, clothing, medical attention, shelter, transportation or other necessities of life. Domestic, intimate partner violence can take many different forms:

Physical abuse includes hitting, pinching, slapping, pushing, punching, kicking, burning, stabbing or shooting. It may also include threats to cause harm.

Psychological abuse, sometimes referred to as emotional or verbal abuse, includes put-downs, name calling, jealousy, isolation from family and friends, and threats to leave the relationship or to commit suicide if the victim does not cooperate.

Sexual abuse includes unwanted touching or sexual activity. It may include control over birth control, forced pregnancies, abortions or the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Financial abuse occurs when an individual uses finances to control another individual. This could include forcing a person to hand over all or part of their salary or by denying someone access to their own finances.

Spiritual abuse occurs when an individual uses religious or spiritual matters to control their partner. Examples of spiritual abuse include forcing someone to follow a particular faith or to give up their religion.

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What is Criminal Harassment?

Criminal Harassment more commonly known as “stalking”, can be defined as harassing behaviour including repeatedly following, communicating with or watching over one’s home. Examples include:

  • Making repeated telephone calls (the caller may hang up or remain silent on the line) to home phone, cell phone or workplace to “track” the victim’s whereabouts
  • Sending repeated letters or stealing mail
  • Sending repeated emails [threatening or obscene e-mail or text messages; spamming (in which a stalker sends a victim a multitude of junk e-mail); live chat harassment called flaming; leaving improper messages on message boards or in guest books; sending electronic viruses; sending unsolicited e-mail; and electronic identity theft]
  • Sending unwanted gifts (flowers, candy, etc.)
  • Showing up uninvited at work or home
  • Following, watching, tracking
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What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is any harmful behaviour perceived by the victim to be of a sexual nature which is unwanted and takes place without consent or understanding of the victim. Sexual violence encompasses a continuum of behaviors, for example, street harassment, coercion, sexual harassment at work, intimate partner sexual violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and other behaviors. Some are criminal in nature (e.g., sexual assault), while others are non-criminal but steeped in attitudes that condone and normalize the behavior.

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Is it against the law?

All forms of violence are wrong, and many are against the law. The Criminal Code of Canada sets out the offences that may apply to situations of domestic, intimate partner, sexual violence and stalking (criminal harassment) and are dealt with in the criminal justice system. Other types of domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence are not criminal but may affect individuals and warrant accessing the opportunity to terminate a lease early. It is important to note that not all victims report domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence to the police.

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Who are the victims of domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence?

Domestic, intimate partner or sexual violence affects all genders, orientations, ages, economic statuses, cultures and abilities. With that said, according to statistics, women and girls are more likely to be subjected to gender-based violence. The continuum of violence is broad therefore victims may be subjected to it in a variety of environments – at home, at work, at school or going about regular activities in the community. The emotional and psychological impact of violence on victims can be significant and result in long term health affects.


For more information, please contact:

Women’s Equality Branch

Violence Prevention and Community Partnerships Initiatives (Unit)

20 McGloin St
PO Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3A 5T8
Phone: (506) 453-8126
Toll-free: 1-877-253-0266