Domestic violence affects everyone. Police, social workers, and the courts have recognized the corrosive nature of family violence and how it can create an intergenerational pattern of abuse.

As recent as the 1990s, domestic violence was viewed as “a private family matter”. This is no longer true.

Domestic abuse is more than physical violence. It includes harassment and stalking, sexual coercion, emotional and psychological abuse, and financial and economic control.

Anyone in an intimate relationship can suffer from family violence. This includes same sex couples, and couples who are not married but dating. Abuse is blind to gender, it is more related to relationship qualities of control and domination.

Statistically, in Canada, the most vulnerable to relationship violence are women in intimate relationships, indigenous women, young women and children. While there are many support services for female victims of abuse, male victims of abuse have a much harder time finding community support services.

Many children suffer from witnessing abuse may also be victims of physical abuse. Children who witness family violence are at risk for mental health problems. They may also be at greater risk for being in violent relationships themselves.

“One main reason why parents decide to leave a violent relationship is that they are concerned about the effects of abuse upon their children”, says Jayne Embree, M.A.

In BC, any person working with a family going through separation must screen for domestic violence and ensure that the survivors are protected. Lawyers and Mediators are required to have specialized training in recognizing signs of relationship abuse.

At Butterfield Law, we take this responsibility seriously. We have specific family violence training. Michael Butterfield has trained others in identifying violence and on how to mediate when domestic violence is a factor. Jayne Embree has a Master’s degree in psychology and experience counselling children and parents who have experienced abuse.

At Butterfield Law, we take domestic violence seriously. You should never be afraid to acknowledge that you are a victim or perpetrator. We do not judge, we help.

When we have clients who have experienced abuse, we refer them to community services to help them heal. The following are resources in BC to stop domestic violence and help families cope:

Michael Butterfield & Jayne Embree