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The Bible tells us that we are made in God's image. We are called to love and care for our neighbour. This means, in part, that we must not physically harm or dehumanize, degrade, exploit or neglect those with whom we are in relationship.

The Issue

Abuse takes place in Christian families and churches, as well as in Canadian society at large. As Christians who recognize human weakness and sin, we must be prepared to encounter abuse, and seek to prevent abuse and restore persons hurt by it. It is important that we understand the nature of abuse, in order to prevent and address it in our own homes and communities.

According to Webster's Dictionary, to abuse is "to use so as to injure or damage." Abuse can have many forms: physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, emotional abuse, neglect and economic abuse. It quite often involves the misuse of power and/or authority and nearly always constitutes a violation of trust. It can occur in a single instance or episode, or be repeated over a prolonged period of time. It can occur at the hands of a parent, spouse or other family member, a caregiver or person in position of trust or authority, or by a stranger.

“Family violence” is a term that includes the many forms of abuse, maltreatment or neglect that adults and children can experience within their intimate, family or dependent relationships. Family violence includes child abuse, spousal abuse, dating violence and abuse of older adults (senior abuse).

Any form of family violence is against the law in Canada. While the Criminal Code does not contain a specific offence of family violence, an abuser can be charged with a range of applicable offences.

Issue: Abuse

Child Abuse
Spousal Abuse
Senior Abuse

Current Status
What You Can Do

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Helpful Links

Kids Help Phone

Abuse and Women

Abuse and Seniors

Provincial Links and Abuse

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