Call 911 or your local police if you are experiencing violence now.

Overview

Alberta has some of the highest rates of violence in Canada. These include:

  • family violence
  • sexual violence
  • missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Often, people think of violence as physical, like hitting, slapping, shoving or cutting. Violence can take different forms and it happens without consent:

Types of violence against women

Family violence

It is any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, within a relationship. It can happen many times or just once, and the abuse happens through the use of assault and controlling behaviour. Family violence can also happen between parents and children, siblings, or extended family members.

The abuse may include one or more of the following:

  • physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse
  • criminal harassment (i.e. stalking)
  • threats to harm children, other family members, pets and property
Intimate partner violence
Happens between people who are or were dating, common-law or married. They could also have had a child together without being in a relationship.

Sexual assault

It is a legal term used in Canada to explain any form of sexual contact without consent. It can include forced or unwanted kissing, touching, vaginal penetration, anal penetration or oral sex. It is a crime.

Sexual exploitation

This happens when a person in a position of trust or authority uses that power to start or attempt sexual activity with another person. It can be through direct or indirect touching, violence, coercion or the use of threats.

Examples of sexual exploitation include sex work and pornography.

Sexual exploitation is a crime when the exploited person is:

  • younger than 18 years of age or
  • older than 18 years of age, has a disability, and the exploitation happens without consent

Sexual harassment

Unwanted or uninvited sexual remarks, gestures, sounds and actions that make a person feel unsafe, degraded or uncomfortable, even if the harasser claims to have been only joking.

Sexual harassment creates a frightening or hostile school or work environment. Women and girls often experience sexual harassment more than men and boys.

Some examples are:

  • rude jokes, sexual remarks, spreading rumours
  • sexual put-downs
  • cat calls, rating appearance, whistling
  • insults about  sexual  orientation
  • bragging about sexual relations
  • any forced sexual contact (touching, patting, grabbing, kissing)

Status of Women initiatives

Initiatives since 2015

Violence can lead to long-term harm. Women and girls who experience violence may find themselves unable to keep up relationships, work or good health. They may experience poverty or homelessness.

Status of Women is working to keep more women and girls safe while working to undo the problems that underline the violence, such as:

  • Work with other ministries to put in place the Family Violence Framework
  • Be part of the process of the national inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
  • Partner with the City of Edmonton and UN to implement Edmonton: Safe City
  • Lead the Government of Alberta's commitment to end sexual violence

Supports for women and girls experiencing violence

The Government of Alberta has made progress on getting supports for those women and girls who experience violence. Funds go to these initiatives:

  • Sexual assault centres
    • $9.7 million each year supports 12 sexual assault centres and the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services. This represents an increase or over 5.5 million in 2018.
  • Family violence prevention
    • Through the Family and Community Safety program, the government has invested in community projects that focus on family violence, sexual violence, child sexual abuse and healthy relationships.
  • Safer Spaces certificates to end tenancy
    • This program, which began in 2016, allows survivors of family violence to end their leases early without penalty. As of September 2018, 600 certificates have been issued.
  • Women’s emergency and second-stage shelters
    • $15 million in new funding in 2015 increased supports for women and children affected by family violence to more than $50 million each year.
  • Alberta funds 30 women’s emergency shelters and gives program funding to 12 second-stage shelters.
  • Family Violence Hurts Everyone: A Framework to End Family Violence in Alberta (800 KB)
  • The Family Violence Information Line is available toll-free, seven days a week in over 170 languages at 310-1818. An anonymous, online chat in English is also available from noon to 8 pm daily.
  • Financial supports are also available to help people get to safety, set up a new household or start a new life. For more information, call the 24-hour emergency income support contact centre at 1‑866‑644‑5135 (toll free).
  • Free legal advice for survivors of sexual violence
    • A $700,000 grant to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton to design, deliver and evaluate a three-year pilot project.
  • Status of Women Community Grant Program
    • Over $2.4 million in grants since 2017 to 65 community organizations for projects that prevent and address gender-based violence