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Teen Dating Abuse

Teen Abuse

All Abusive relationships share many and/or all of the same warning signs. However, if you are a teen there are some unique aspects that we need to talk about.  One of the unique factors is that during the teen years you will experience many firsts: first attraction, first kiss, first boyfriend/girlfriend, first drink, first party, etc.. In the midst of all of these firsts are body changes and social expectations and media/peer pressures.

The teen years are  part of a natural crisis to figure out who and what I am and you are bombarded with messages from all sides telling you who and what you should be. Thus as a teens you need as much support, information and mentorship to help you develop into your authentic self.  Abusive relationships in the teen year can cause long term hurt and can be VERY dangerous.  The most reliable source of knowing the  danger you are in is you.

Abusive behaviours do not stop because someone tells you they will promise.   People who abuse need help to learn ways to stop with a mentor or a counsellor and you deserve someone who treats you well.

This is a video of other teenagers experiences: Let's Go


 Negative Media Messages to Females and Males:



Male Masqulinity, Violence & Media:


Warning Signs of Abuse

Because relationships exist on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:

  • Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  • Constantly putting you down
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Explosive temper
  • Isolating you from family or friends
  • Making false accusations
  • Mood swings
  • Physically hurting you in any way(pushing, pinching, slapping, punching etc...)
  • Possessiveness
  • Telling you what to do
  • Convincing you to do sexual things you are not comfortable doing
  • Posting things on facebook that put you down or post pictures you don't want
  • Texting you constantly to either know where you are or to fight with you
  • Driving too fast or kicking you out of the car in a place where you will feel unsafe
  • Calling you sexual degrading names in front of others or just to you knowing you will feel shame
  • Cheating on you with other girls and then blaming you

Here are some more videos on teens experience: 



Signs of Digital Dating Abuse:


Excellent Resources: Quizzes, texting abuse, etc..


If you are in an abusive relationship and would confidential support please call our 24/7 crisis line 905-387-8881or call the Women's Centre for counselling  905-522-0127

Adult Dating Abuse

All abusive relationship share many of the same warning signs but there are unique factors facing women who are in dating relationships. Dating in adulthood today for many women has women using on-line dating or dating services, dating in the office/post secondary school or you may be in an arranged engagement. All of these dating methods can be healthy and safe but you can find yourself with an abusive dating partner.  

Some on-line dating situation can turn into cyber stalking and they can isolate you from the site. Some arranged engagments involved more than the two dating partners and can lead to being isolated from family.   

If after going through the warning signs you think the relationship is abusive we can help you develop a safety plan for your specific situation. 

If you are in an abusive relationship and would confidential support please call our 24/7 crisis line 905-387-8881 or call the Women's Centre for counselling 905-522-0127

Senior Abuse

Elder Abuse hotline at 1-866-299-1011.

All abusive relationships share some or all of the warning signs. However, if you are senior/elder you are facing some unique aspects; such as your abuser may be your son/daughter, grandchild or caregiver and you may have lots of fears about reporting them, where will you live, financial issues and living in long term  supportive homes. You may also have mixed your finances with your childern and don't know how to untangle it. It may also be a caregiver who is abusing you and you fear losing the help they provide. Whatever the situation, abuse is wrong and will not change without intervention.  We can help you find supports and resources in the community. 

Examples of elder abuse

• Over-medicating a person: prescribing medication that is not needed; administering too much medication

• Withholding medication: refusing to pay for a prescription; rationing or limiting the dosage of medication

• Invading privacy: opening someone else’s mail or emails; accessing personal information

• Unlawful confinement: locking someone in a vehicle, room or building; using restraints to keep someone in bed or in a chair!

• Neglecting a person’s basic needs: not providing necessary care, such as food, clothing, shelter and health care needs

• Causing social isolation: refusing to allow visitors; refusing to allow someone to attend religious or social gatherings

• Preventing an older adult from practicing a faith: refusing to allow someone to attend religious services; removing personal property associated with someone’s faith

• Fraudulently gaining access to a person’s money: theft; stealing personal banking information; coercing a person to open a joint bank account; receiving payment for repair work that has not been done

• Misusing funds: spending money that belongs to someone else; coercing someone to make a financial decision; where there is a power of attorney, not spending money according to the donor’s values and needs; selling property for financial gain donations, saying it was a waste of her money.

• Physical assault: hitting; slapping; pushing; using unnecessary force

• Non-consensual sexual contact: forcing someone to participate in sexual activity or making inappropriate sexual comments.

• Threats of harm: saying or doing something that causes fear

• Harassment: intimidating or threatening someone; bullying; degrading comments

For a complete Guide on Elderly Abuse and your Rights click here https://intervalhousehamilton.org/uploads/files/Practical_Guide_English_Rev_JULY_2011.pdf 

For Community Resources including; Advocacy Centre for the elderly and the Public Guardian Office contact click here: https://intervalhousehamilton.org/uploads/files/Elderly%20Community%20Resource%20list.pdf 

If you wish to speak with Front Line Shelter Counsellor please call 905-387-8881 (Crisis Line) or to make an appointment call 905-387-9959 or at the Women Centre of Hamilton 905-522-0127 or if you live in Flamborough call us at 289-895-8580.

Married/Live In Abuse

All abusive relationships share some or all of the same warning signs. However, there are some unique aspects that occur in married or lived in relationships. The financial and legal issues of being married or living together are a major issue both in staying and when leaving. In addition, you may have children together or step-children and you will need to look at the issues impacting on them. You may have family and/or your faith community that is you love and/or is pressuring you to stay or face losing your social/family relationships.

It is extremely important if you are deciding to leave that you know your legal rights and responsibilities; especially as it pertains to family court and custody.  

We know how hard it is to consider your options and we know change takes time so we are here to listen and support you through all your decisions. Our staff have resources and skills to assist you in processing and sorting out all the options

We have legal advocates at Jared's place: 905-522-0127 that can help you learn about the legal issues of leaving.


If you wish to speak with Front Line Shelter Counsellor please call 905-387-8881 (Crisis Line) or to make an appointment call 905-387-9959 or at the Women Centre of Hamilton 905-522-0127 or if you live in Flamborough call us at 289-895-8580.

Same Sex / LBGTQ Abuse

All abuse in relationships share many and/or all of the same warning signs.  However,  in same-sex and  trans community there are some aspects that are unique.  One of the aspects that is different is the homo/trans phobia that exist both within the LGBTQ community and within the larger society.  The existence of hatred and social isolation impacts subtly and overtly in the LGBTQ community.

Another unique aspect is the small community and the issue of your social friend connection also being your potential dating connection.

Finally,  many LGBTQ members are getting married and adopting children and so leaving poses different concerns than in the heterosexual community.  The issue of LGBTQ abuse has been in the closet for too long.  This community, like all communities, is not immune from this issue..

Information, Social Beliefs and Definitions:

  1. Homophobia and Transphobia
    Created by social beliefs that Lesbians, Gays, Trans and Bisexuals are not equal and full members of society and the indoctrination of exclusive heterosexuality.
  2. Isolation from Family, Friends and Co-workers
    Due to fear of homophobia and hatred and loss of relationships and jobs
  3. Internalized Heterosexist Beliefs
    Make the person and their partner think that their relationship is bad, not valid and less than heterosexuals.
  4. The Social Belief
    That GLBTQ do not experience abuse in partnerships and that it is only a heterosexual issue
  5. Individuals within Justice, Health & Social Services
    Often do recognize, respond and/or understand how to assist GLBTQ members who are experiencing violence
  6. Outing
    If one partner is “out” in there life and the other is not this may cause fear for them to reach out to services
  7. The Silence within the GLBTQ
    Community to address the issue of abuse; thus, lack of resources and referrals.
  8. Trans Community
    Faces additional factors including, the issues of transitioning with partner and/or establishing a new partner and the fear trans hatred/phobia
  9. The GLBTQ Community
    Is small and many abusers and victims will share friends and a community together. It is very hard NOT to cross paths or friends again.
  10. Many “Coming Out” or “Questioning” Person
    Will be vulnerable to a GLBTQ person who will use their knowledge, access and comfortability with the community to confuse and abuse the person.

Additional Community Resources

If you wish to speak with Front Line Shelter Counsellor please call
905-387-8881 (Crisis Line) or to make an appointment call 905-387-9959 or
at the Women Centre of Hamilton 905-522-0127
or if you live in Flamborough call us at 289-895-8580.

Sexting / Cyber Harassment

Digital dating abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate.  Technology today can allow for an abusive partner to know exactly where you are at all times if they know how to use the technology available.  Since many abusers have an investment in controlling you it is better to take all steps to keep you safe.


The term cyberstalking refers to action by the abuser to stalk you  through  social networks, online forums, Twitter, instant messaging or via chat. The stalker may use websites to post offensive material, create fake profiles or even make a dedicated website about you.  They may sign you up to numerous websites, promotional material or place false ads using the victim's email address and phone number.

It still considered cyberstalking if the abuse is via mobile phone. Smart phones have many features like instant messaging that allows user to create groups and spread gossip quickly about a victim. Inundating victims with text or voicemail is one of the most common tactics. 

The stalker's objective is to gather information about you, to harass, humiliate, ruin their reputation or damage their relationships.

For a complete resource guide on the technologies and ways to stop a cyber/digital stalker click here. 

Here is an excellent web resource on digital stalking:


When your partner starts stalking

Over 50% of ex-partner stalking started before they left their partner (Mullen, Pathe and Purcell, 2009)

  1. They become demanding/controlling, they want to know who you are texting, e-mailing, what you are saying.  They are suspicious, perhaps even paranoid. 
  2. They are contacting you multiple times a day asking you to confirm where you are at – if you are at an unusual place and they seem to know - suspect that they have put some geo location software on your phone. 
  3. They start sending aggressive, abusive or threatening texts. 
  4. They start to contact your friends and family trying to check up on you, get information about you, or trying to damage those relationships. 
  5. They start to spread rumors, put abusive, embarrassing comments online via social network, forums etc. 
  6. They seem to know information that you haven’t told them or know what you do online such as websites you’ve gone to, people you’ve chatted or sent e-mails to etc – suspect spyware on your computer  
  7. Your passwords stop working or keep changing. 
  8. You find e-mails marked read that you haven’t read, or e-mails sent from your account you haven’t sent. 
  9. Money starts going missing from your online bank account or goods being bought via online stores you use. 
  10. Information is deleted such as friend’s contacts, computer files, e-mails.

A key things that you can do:

Social Networks

  • Restrict your friends on your social network so only true friends and family are in your list
  • Block the abuser AND all his friends and family.
  • Go through each option on the privacy settings. Use the "friends only" settings in "how people can contact you" and turn off all apps, disable public search, don't allow people to tag you etc.


  • Assume you have spyware on your computer. Buy an antispyware product - antivirus software won't work against spyware/monitoring products
  • Once your computer is clean - change your email, passwords and security questions on ALL your accounts. You can get free password management software so it is easy to manage different passwords for different accounts. Here is a list


  • If you are leaving an abuser take, out your battery in your phone so they can't trace you. Once you are safe you need to make sure there is no tracking software on your phone.
  • Set up your mobile so you have to put in a PIN before you use it.
  • Buy and use mobile security software.
  • Use a call blocker with "white lists" that prevents anyone not in your address book from contacting your mobile - most mobile security software offers this feature.
  • Don't use geolocation apps on your phone such as "check in" apps, or maps

Save Evidence

  • Take a picture of all texts on your mobile phone so if the phone gets lost, damaged or you run out of room in your text box you have a record of them.
  • If the stalker leaves a voice mail make a recording of it. Mobile phone providers will erase it after a short while.
  • Harassing messages or online content - make a copy of your chat conversations. On your keyboard is a special key that says "Prt Sc - SysRq" or "PrintScreen". If you hold down the "ALT" key and press that special key, a Windows PC will take a copy of what is on your screen. Open up a new Wordprocessor or Paint document and paste the image in it, be sure to add the time and date of the conversation.
  • Create a log. Write down the time, date and nature of EACH incident and how it made you feel.

If you need help please call our shelter counsellors at 905-387-9959 or the Women Centre of Hamilton at 905-522-0127  or our Flambourogh Women's Resource Centre 289-895-8580


Signs of Abuse

The signs of an abusive relationship may be direct (hitting / forced sex)  or subtle (putdowns / extreme texting) but the key thing about an abusive relationship is that it is a pattern of control. 

Someone who chooses to abuse often demonstrates many moods and obsessive traits. This is a tactic to control.  Women often must compromise their own morals, values and beliefs into those of the abuser to help keep herself and her children safe.  Impacting women to questions her own self worth, eroding self-esteem, creating self-doubt.  Women often try to overcompensate, implementing many strategies to stay safe and to help make situations better for herself and her children.  Coercive control in a relationship is abuse.  Some women have reported that emotional and verbal abuse is much more difficult to overcome.  The impact of abuse remains even when the relationship is over.  All forms of abuse can quickly escalate and in some situations become lethal.  Abuse of any form must never be overlooked by anyone.   

These are common signs found in most abusive relationships:  

  • After You Just Meet Pushes for Quick Involvement and Exclusivity
    Wants to know everyone you have ever been involved with and then uses this information to make you feel less worthy
  • Irratic Thoughts / Actions
    One minute he loves you and the next he is yelling or putting you down. It feels like walking on eggshells or that you can’t relax because his mood or wants could change any minute
  • Excessive Jealousy and/or Unexplained Jealous Accusations
    Obsessive thinking / actions where lack of trust and controlling your movements or who you are communicating / meeting with interrogates you intensely about who you talked to and where you were (expecially if you're late)
  • Isolation
    Isolates you and/or tries to cut you off or interfers with your relationships with family and friends; accuses people who are your supporters of "causing trouble".  Loads you up with responsibilities / tasks so he keeps you busy and knows your routine
  • Self Centred Actions and lacks empathy for others
    Blames others for problems or mistakes. It’s always some one else’s fault if something goes wrong twists stories around or lies and tells you his other relationship problems or ex-girlfriends were the problem
  • Makes Others Responsible for His or Her Feelings
    The abuser says "You make me angry" instead of "I am angry” or says "you are hurting me by not doing what I tell you”.
  • Cruelty to Children and Animals
    May expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (i.e. gets angry at a 3 yr. old for wetting their diaper), or may tease them until they cry 65% of abusers who abuse their partners will also abuse their children, kills or punishes animals brutally.
  • Sexual Actions
    He doesn’t respect your thoughts or feelings and pressures you for sex or sexual acts you do not desire to do; makes sexual degrading comments about you, wants you to take pictures or videos of yourself naked/or in sexual act; wants you to send you naked pictures via internet (phone/email).
  • Verbal / Emotional Actions
    Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel, hurtful things; degrades, curses, calls you ugly names
  • Rigid Sex/ Gender Roles
    Expects you to serve, obey, remain at home.  Expects you to take care of household, children on your own
  • Physical Threats of Violence
    Threatens to harm you, then dismisses it later, chokes you, uses his body to keep you trapped in a room or in a space, punches, spits, etc.
  • Destroying Property 

If you wish to speak with Front Line Shelter Counsellor please call 905-387-8881 (Crisis Line) or to make an appointment call 905-387-9959 or at the Women Centre of Hamilton 905-522-0127 or if you live in Flamborough call us at 289-895-8580.

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