Learning about abuse is essential to preventing it.

Recognize Abuse

The effects of domestic violence may lead to breakdown in communication, isolation from others, withdrawal from family and friends, avoiding the public, spending more time at work, not wanting to come home, fear and anxiety, low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, depression, thoughts of suicide, feelings of guilt, emotional highs and lows, emotional numbness, tendencies toward revenge, feeling mentally or physically ill, increased alcohol and drug use, dependency on prescriptions to feel better.

This page has resources to help you identify abuse, whether you are experiencing it, or concerned for someone else. 

Abuse often begins in pregnancy.

Pregnancy is often the beginning of, or changes the incidence and nature of violence in relationships. Reasons an individual may become violent or their violence may escalate during a pregnancy include impending financial stress to support a child, if the pregnancy was unplanned, or your attention has shifted from your partner to you and your growing child.  Physical abuse while pregnant puts the individual and unborn child at risk for severe and potentially life threatening conditions, especially when a woman’s pregnant abdominal area is targeted. Physical abuse during pregnancy leads to an increased chance for miscarriage, vaginal bleeding, premature delivery, low birth weight, and even injuries to baby. 

During the postpartum period there is an increased risk for the violence and abuse to escalate. Abuse during this time is a contributor to postpartum depression and other postpartum mental health issues. 

For more information about Emergency Accommodations contact our Program Coordinator at 780-679-4975 ext. 6

Please visit our Safety Planning info below to prepare and protect yourself as you plan to leave.

Abuse can happen in many ways. Here is a non-exhaustive list of types of abuse to be aware of:

Physical Abuse – Pulling hair, pushing, pinching, hitting, kicking, spitting, erratic driving to cause fear or harm, choking and anything causing harm. Physical abuse most visible, but verbal/emotional abuse often has the longest lasting and hardest to overcome effects.

Emotional Abuse – Blaming, swearing, name calling, yelling, causes of emotional disharmony.

Psychological Abuse – Isolation from friends and family, causing children to turn on or alienate the other parent, blaming, blackmail, being told you are crazy or mentally unstable. This includes gaslighting, crazy making and coercive control.

Sexual Abuse – Forced or unwanted sexual acts, unwanted exposure to or creation of pornography, forced acceptance of an affair, knowingly transmitting sexual disease, forced pregnancy this includes also rape, confinement and sexual exploitation.

Financial Abuse – Controlling access to household finances, not providing for basic necessities, taking victims money, using money as a control tactic.

Spiritual Abuse – Not allowing or restricting access to faith of choice, not being allowed to pray, read or fellowship with faith based or cultural activities.

Stalking and Cyberstalking

Are you or someone you know being stalked?

Are you afraid for your safety or the safety of someone known to you because of the words or actions of another person?

  • Is someone repeatedly following you or someone known to you from place to place? Repeatedly is more that one time and does not have to be for an extended period of time. The incidents may have occurred during the same day.
  • Is someone repeatedly communicating with you, either directly or indirectly?
    Directly can be by telephone, in person, leaving messages on answering machines, or sending unwanted gifts, notes, letters or e-mails.
     Indirectly can be by contacting people you know and having messages sent through them or simply by making repeated unwanted inquiries about you.
  • Is someone persistently close by or watching your home or any place where you or anyone known to you live, works, carries on business or happens to be?
  • Have you or any member of your family been threatened by this person?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions you or someone you know may be a victim of criminal harassment .

Cyber Stalking

When one person, or group, uses technology (especially the Internet) to harass, intimidate or frighten you, it is called “cyber stalking.” It may include:

  • keeping track of your phone conversations and Internet use
  • making threats
  • accusing you of things you didn’t do
  • stealing your identity (by using your personal or bank information)
  • damaging your personal data or equipment (ex: viruses)
  • soliciting minors for sex and other aggressive behaviours

What to do and what not to do

You are not alone! Break the silence:

  • call the police
  • contact a service in your area
  • talk to a friend, co-worker or family member
  • learn how to turn off GPS location on all your devices
  • Maintain detailed notes about the stalking conduct. Dates, times, places, actions and threats are easier to explain and remember when written down.

Keep all recorded telephone messages, e-mails, gifts, letters or notes that have been sent by the individual. Keep a list of emergency numbers posted in several locations. Emergency numbers should include:

  • police
  • immediate family
  • friends
  • co-workers
  • victims advocacy groups

Pay attention to incidents that may seem coincidental. Are you suddenly running into this person more often? If you are not sure if you are being stalked contact the police.

Do not agree to have contact with a person who you think may be stalking you. Do not try to deal with a stalker by yourself. Each stalking situation is different. Rather than intervening with the person yourself, contact the police. Consider that sometimes, when a stalker is confronted or meets with resistance, they may react with violence or the conduct may escalate.

If you know of someone who is being abused or is wanting to leave an abusive partner or situation, encourage them to contact the Camrose Women’s Shelter for support and assistance by calling 1-877-672-1010.


Safety Planning

PLEASE NOTE: There is transportation in town, but no transport to the shelter is provided.

You must have transportation to the Camrose community as public transportation is not available to the City of Camrose.


There is no right or wrong way to do a safety plan. Make it your plan. Review it often. Make changes as you need to. There is help for you to develop a safety plan. You can ask a social worker, family violence worker, or a police officer to work with you on this. Download safety planning guides here.

Call our crisis line: 1-877-672-1010 or 780-672-1035

Safety plans will help you be as safe as you can be from future abuse.

They are used by people who:
• Want to leave, but it’s not safe
• Are not sure about leaving, but need help in case the abuser gets violent
• Have left and the threat of violence is still there

This can be a stressful and dangerous time for you and your children. Above all else, stay safe and if needed, call 911.

Make an Escape Plan

  • Think of a safe room in your home where you could call 9-1-1 or leave from. Try to find a room with a window or door to the outside. Avoid a room if it has weapons, such as the kitchen.
  • Make a code word for a safe person you can call if you need help.
  • Find 24/7 places in your neighbourhood you can access to get out of the house.
  • Clear your computer history and turn of locations on your phone so your actions cannot be tracked.

Prepare to Leave:

  • Speak to your safe family and friends about not giving out information on your plan to leave.
  • Turn off location settings on your phone and social media.
  • Change old passwords
  • Make a safety pack and place it where only you can find it.

Items to put into your safety pack:

  • Identification for you and your children: Drivers license/Photo ID, Passports, Status Card, Health Care Card, Birth Certificates, and Social Insurance Cards
  • Cash and Credit Cards
  • Medications
  • Keys
  • Custody Orders/Restraining Orders/Emergency Protection Orders  (If your copies have been destroyed try contacting Women Against Abuse Legal Center (215-686-7086)).
  • Immigration of Work Permit Papers and Visa
  • Marriage License or Divorce Decree
  • Any important items to you and your children.
  • A change of outfits

Safety Plan with Children:

  • Teach your kids that their first priority is to stay safe, and to get out of the room where the abuse is happening.
  • Show your children how to call 9-1-1 and tell them what to say during an emergency.

 My name is ___________________ I am ___________ years old.  I need help, send the police. Someone is hurting my _____. The address here is: ______________________________The phone number here is: ________________________.

  • Talk to your kids about who your safe people are if you need help.
  • Show your children where safe places in your neighborhood are for them to run to.
  • Make an escape plan with your children.

If You Are At Home:

  • Think about signs that show when the person is becoming angry.
  • If they become angry, try to move to a safe room. Try to stay near a door or window to the outside.
  • If there are others in the house, teach them to leave the room where the abuse is happening and call for help.
  • If there is substance use
  • Record all incidents of abuse, including when and what happened.
  •  Create an escape plan, review it regularly.
  • Make a safety pack to keep on hand.

 Concern about custody of children, Use of children as pawns

If you have children and are in an abusive relationship, it is important to talk to them about abuse and safety planning to keep them safe in a violent situation. These discussions should be age and developmentally appropriate, specific to each individual child. Make sure your child knows what to do- before violence occurs. It is important for your child to know that their safety is important, so making a plan on where to go, and if appropriate, who to call is paramount. Have a list of trusted family members or friends who the child can contact is a key aspect to creating a safety plan. Child custody matters are difficult systems to maneuver as both parents have legal rights.  Contacting legal aid or other legal advisors is the best manner to proceed. It is important when dealing with child custody, that your children know they are safe and none of what is happening is their fault. Try to keep their lives as normal as possible while navigating this confusing process.

Abusive relationships are complicated, but become even more so when children are involved. Not only is it troublesome when children witness abuse occurring, they can also be used as an abusive mechanism. It is common for an abusive individual to seek ways to assert their power and control over their partner, and unfortunately, children are commonly used as pawns. An example of such a situation is an abuser telling their partner that they will take the children away. This is a common form of emotional abuse that is used to keep the person in the abusive relationship. You do not have to be legally married for this type of abuse to occur.

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