a provincial partnership of community and government focused on increasing safe and effective justice options for women experiencing family violence in Prince Edward Island, Canada

How can the justice system help women who are victims of violence?

What makes it hard for women to tell someone about abuse they have experienced?

  • She may be embarrassed or feel that she should 'know better'
  • She may fear judgement by service provider or the community
  • She may fear that her safety will be jeopardized if she tries to leave
  • She may be afraid that 'everyone will find out'
  • She may be aware of the lack of legal aid
  • She may not have the financial or emotional means to support herself or her family while she is waiting for the legal processes to be completed
  • She may be afraid that service providers won't believe her
  • She may have a strong commitment to her marriage vows and feel that it is her duty to stick with the marriage
  • She may be afraid of losing material possessions (house, car, furniture, savings, etc.)
  • She may not know that there is help available
  • She may think she can do it without help
  • She may be confused about how leaving will affect the children
  • She may be in too much emotional turmoil and have too much to deal with to be able to take that step
  • She may be experiencing family pressure to make things work
  • She may have encountered an unhelpful response in the past
  • She may be afraid that she will lose her children if she leaves
  • She may be in the honeymoon period and think that things will change
  • She may not have a car or other transportation with which to leave
  • She may not have the energy to call person after person until she finds someone who believes her and can/will help her
  • She may not be able to leave her community to go to Anderson House if she has a job she can't leave or children she doesn't want to take out of school
  • She may believe him when he says that he will hurt other family members like her father or mother
  • She may think that the system won't work, that the abuser won't be charged, that he won't have to go to jail and that the system doesn't take abuse seriously
  • She may not want to hurt other family members by revealing the abuse
  • She may feel guilty and think the abuse is her fault
  • She may think that because she doesn't have any bruises or broken bones that no-one will care
  • She may be afraid that she will have no-one to take care of her if the abuser is her care giver
  • She may have no emotional support from family or friends
  • She may be afraid that the system can't protect her from the subtle harassment
  • She may not know that she is in an abusive relationship
  • She may feel that the children need their father
  • She may not have a way to support her children
  • She may be very isolated and have no-one to talk to
  • She may have been taught to believe that she deserves to be abused
  • She may feel that the abuse is a result of a mental illness and that it is her wifely duty to stay by her abuser
  • She may be so controlled by her abuser that she doesn't have the strength or power to tell

What do women need from the justice system?

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