Government of New Brunswick


Fiction Fact
Intimate partner violence is a private family matter. No one should interfere. It’s not a private matter when someone is being hurt.  It’s wrong and it’s against the law. There are ways that family, friends and neighbours can help.
People who abuse their partners usually have a good reason for losing their temper. Everyone gets angry now and then, but an abusive person uses violence as a way to control and dominate their partner.  If friends and co-workers make excuses for the abuse, they are part of the problem.  Everyone needs to speak out against abusive behaviours. There is no excuse for abuse. 
Drinking and drug use causes intimate partner violence. Alcohol and drug use are known risk factors for intimate partner violence, but they are not the root cause.  Many abusive people hit and belittle their partners when they are sober.  However, the abuse of drugs and alcohol increases the risk of injury or harm.
Someone who abuses their partner must be mentally ill. Individuals with mental healthconcerns are rarely violent.  Violence in an intimate partner relationship is a tactic that an abusive partner uses repeatedly to control their partner.  
Some people ‘push their buttons’ until the abuser snaps. Hitting your partner is a choice. It doesn’t matter if your partner burned the dinner, came home late, or didn’t agree with your opinion - abuse is never the fault of the victim. No one deserves to be abused.
The abuse can’t be that serious or they wouldn’t stay. Research shows that even severely assaulted victims often return to their abusive partners. This happens for many reasons. Some hate the abuse; yet love their partner. They may hope and pray their partner will change.  Many feel ashamed, guilty or fearful. Others have no job or money to be self-supporting. Some fear losing their children in a custody battle. Most are not aware of services and supports. Leaving can be a process that takes time.
There’s no point helping a victim of abuse they'll just go back to their partner. No matter what they decide to do, it is very important to reach out and offer help.  It could be a matter of life or death.  Yes, they may return home, but when they ares ready to leave, the will have someone they can turn to. 
Women can be violent, too. Yes, women can be violent and some men are victims of intimate partner violence.  All victims of violence deserve compassion and support.  However, in terms of the frequency, severity and long term negative consequences of abuse, the vast majority of victims are women.


Children are not affected by intimate partner violence. Research shows that there can be serious negative outcomes when children see or hear one parent physically or verbally abuse the other parent. For this reason, New Brunswick child protection law recognized this as a form of child abuse. Children living in such homes are also more likely to be abused directly. They may experience health problems such as anxiety, thoughts of suicide, headaches and stomach aches, as well as eating disorders, self-mutilation and low self-esteem. They may act out aggressively at school. As adults, they may enter into abusive intimate partner relationships. 
If men are violent with their partners, they are likely violent in all their relationships. People who abuse their partners are not necessarily violent with friends or co-workers. They may be charming and pleasant in these environments. However, at home they may feel entitled to get their own way. This may justify their use of violence to control and subordinate their spouse.  
Abusers can never change. Change is hard and it must come from within.  An abusive partner must be willing to admit what they are doing is wrong. They must accept responsibility for the way they treat their partner . They must want to change and get appropriate counseling to unlearn abusive behaviours. Breaking the cycle of violence is not easy. Without help, things will only get worse.


Abusers don’t use weapons to harm or control their partners. Guns in abusive homes are a known risk factor for serious harm and suicide.  A New Brunswick study on this topic found that long guns were often part of the cycle of control and intimidation. For those women with firearms in the home, 66% said this made them more fearful for their safety.  (Doherty, D. & Hornosty, J. (2007). Exploring the Links: Family Violence, Firearms and Animal Abuse, Report to the Canada Firearms Centre, Ottawa, Canada). Research on female domestic homicide in New Brunswick shows that over 50% of the women killed by their partners were shot with hunting rifles or shotguns (Silent Witness Project – )
Victims often leave their pets behind when they decide to flee the abuse. Abuse victims may delay leaving a potentially dangerous situation because they are fearful their partner will harm, kill or neglect the beloved family pet.  A study in New Brunswick on the link between family violence and animal abuse, found that 70% of the abused women in the study had a pet or farm animal. About 45% of them said their partner had threatened to harm the animals as a way to control them, while over 40% said their pets had been harmed or killed by their partner. (Doherty, D. & Hornosty, J. (2007). Exploring the Links: Family Violence, Firearms and Animal Abuse, Report to the Canada Firearms Centre, Ottawa, Canada.)
Immigrant and refugee women don’t seek help because their background or culture allows abuse. Violence against women takes place in every country and culture in the world. Assuming that one specific culture is okay with violence is a generalization, and is dangerous.




Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) can occur in all relationship types (current and former married, common-law and dating relationships, and irrespective of sexual orientation) and can affect people of all genders. While this behaviour can be directed at male victims, the vast majority of victims of IPV are women, and men tend to more commonly be the abusive partner. Many services listed for victims of IPV are for female victims unless otherwise stated.