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The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide general information on a wide variety of legal issues in the Province of Alberta. This service is provided by Calgary Legal Guidance funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.
This topic discusses actions that should be taken by any person who is aware of a situation involving spousal or partner abuse or family violence.
- Call the police immediately at 911 if you are aware an assault is occurring. Speak slowly and clearly. Tell the police how serious the situation is and give them your name, address and phone number as well as the location of the assault. Simply tell the police a person is being assaulted. If there is no 911 service available phone your local Police or RCMP. Be careful for your own safety. It is unwise for you to intervene in any physical confrontation. This is the job of trained police officer. Cooperate with the police and assist wherever possible.
- Help the person obtain medical assistance for any physical injuries. Urge the party to see a doctor as soon as possible even if there is no complaint of physical injury but there are scars or bruising on the body _. The injuries should be treated and the doctor should be told how they were caused and by whom. The doctor should be requested to take color photographs of any visible injuries and bruises. These photos will corroborate the evidence in any Court proceeding.
- Assist the abused person in self-help actions if the violence is ongoing. Assist in finding safety if the intent is to leave the abusive party. Assist in calling a shelter or crisis centre if there is no other safe place to go. If leaving is not an option for whatever reason urge the victim to contact the counseling staff at the shelter, Crisis centre or counseling agency, They are trained in helping people escape abusive situations and access community resources,
The person leaving the home should be reminded to take house keys, money, credit cards, bank books, health care cards, passports or birth certificates, driver’s license, medications and some clothing essentials. Financial assistance may be available from Alberta Works if the person is in financial difficulty and for this reason does not wish to leave the home. Help may also be available from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada if is the victim is aboriginal.