First and foremost, if you feel like you are in immediate danger; Call 911. Explain your situation to the police and why you are scared. The police are trained to ensure your security.
- Do not isolate yourself: It is important that you speak to someone, outside of your family, that you trust. It is strongly suggested to speak to a professional such as a teacher, a school councelor, a social worker, or any other person you feel safe talking to about your situation. This person could give you advice and orient you towards available resources and give you legal information in order to help you.
- Seek help: You can seek out a resource specialised in women who are victims of conjugal or family violence. This can be a confidential shelter or a woman’s organization. You could also go to a CLSC or a police station. There will always be people ready to help you with this process.
- About shelters:
- There are a number of services offered at a shelter such as: individual consultations, support groups and accompaniments
- Also certain shelters have social workers who speak multiple languages. Therefore, you can be provided information in the language you are most comfortable with.
- About shelters:
Always remember: You are not alone and you have the right to be safe! Do not be afraid to ask for help!
Usually victims of HBV feel isolated, vulnerable, and are filled with fear. Therefore, even if you might be hesitant to help, the simple act of reaching out and letting a victim know that you are there to support them can provide tremendous relief. It is also important to understand that because of the dynamic of violence surrounding HBV, all information that you have received should not be shared with other family or community members.
Always direct the victim to specialised services and help her find information about her rights.
Finally, if a victim does decide to open up to you, listen to her without judgement. However, always make sure that both you and the victim are in a safe environment.
Are women the only victims of HBV?
Although the majority of victims of honour based violence are women and girls, men and boys can however also be victims of HBV.
If I am under the age of 18 and think that I might be a victim of HBV, what should I do?
First off, if you feel like your life is in immediate danger, do not hesitate to CALL 911.
Also, it is important to remember that because you are under the age of 18, Youth Protection services has the right to intervene in your home life if it suspects there is: parental neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse, or either physical or psychological abuse.
You can also talk to someone you feel comfortable talking to such as a teacher, school counsellor or social worker. They will listen to you and give you advice regarding your situation and will explain to you the role of Youth Protection services.
Do I have the same rights as a Canadian citizen regarding my protection if I am a victim of honour based violence?
Yes, whether you are a refugee or a permanent resident, you have the same rights as a citizen under Canadian law. Therefore, any form of violence whether it is physical, psychological, financial, etc., is not tolerated and can be considered as a crime in Canada.
Can I press charges against my family?
Yes. You do have the right to press charges against your family. This is because you have the right to not be assaulted or harmed (physically and emotionally). Anyone who violates this right, whether it be a family member or a third person, can be found responsible of crime under Canadian criminal law. If you wish to press charges, it is possible to do so by filing a police report or make a statement at a police station concerning the violent situation that you have been living through. Once this process has been done, the police will take care of the rest of the investigation.