What is Gender-Based Violence?

It can happen to anyone in different forms, and the problem is often overlooked, rationalized, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is something other than physical.

Anyone can be abused, regardless of their identity, history, or circumstance, but women, girls, Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people are at highest risk of experiencing gender-based violence.

The Facts on Gender-Based Violence

Hover your mouse over each image to read more.

Read More: CBC News, CFOJA 2020 Study
Read More: UNODC Research 2020
Read More: Ending Violence Assoc. of BC
Read More: CWF Barriers for Girls

What is Gender Equality?

It means equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for all genders (UN Women). Our rights, responsibilities, and opportunities should not depend on or be limited by our gender. The interests and needs of everyone are valid and important. We believe that violence against women and children is not simply a “women’s issue.” This is a societal issue – yours and ours – and addressing this issue will ensure a better future for all of us.

Violent behaviour is the abuser’s choice

Despite what many believe, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over their behaviour. In fact, abusive behaviour and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser to control you.

Abuse can include, but is not limited to:

  1. Patterns of intimidation, degradation, isolation, and control with threats of violence
  2. Psychological and/or emotional abuse
  3. Physical or sexual abuse
  4. Financial or economic abuse
  5. Harassment and stalking
  6. Online or digital abuse


Use this checklist below to determine whether your relationship feels abusive to you.

Links and Resources

Click on the titles below to find local available resources.

Pets are often used as a means of control by an abusive partner.  At NSCSS, we understand the importance of keeping your pet safe as part of your own safety plan.  At SAGE Transition House, we are able to accept some pets.

Call us to talk about how you can keep yourself and your pets safe.

Sage Transition House: 604-987-3374

The BC Society of Transition Houses (BCSTH) offers contact information on Transition Houses across the province

Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) offers information on anti-violence programs for victims of abuse across the province

The Sexual Assault Response Program provides free coordinated services for survivors of sexual assault who are 13 years and older, inclusive of all genders and available to all residents of North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Bowen Island and Lions Bay. Connect with a support worker, call 604-924-7676.

VictimLink BC provides information and referral services to all victims of crime and immediate crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence, including victims of human trafficking exploited for labour or sexual services.

bc211 can help you find contact information on community, social or government services

Request free legal aid in BC.  Legal Aid BC can provide legal support on various topics such as include Family Law, Children/MCFD, Criminal Law, and Refugees & Immigration Law.

Call 1-866-577-2525 / 604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver)

How to Support a Friend

If you are worried about a friend that you think may be in an abusive relationship, here are some tips for helping effectively:

  • Set up a time to talk. Try to make sure you have privacy and won’t be distracted or interrupted.

  • Let your friend know you’re concerned about her safety. Be honest and specific. Tell her about times when you were worried about her. Let her know you want to help.

  • Be supportive. Listen to your friend. Keep in mind that it may be very hard for her to talk about the abuse. Tell her that she is not alone, and that people want to help.

  • Offer specific help. You might say you are willing to just listen, to help her with childcare, or to provide transportation, for example.

  • Don’t place shame, blame, or guilt on your friend. Don’t say, “You just need to leave.” Instead, say something like, “I get scared thinking about what might happen to you.”

  • Help her make a safety plan that includes getting out safely.

  • Encourage your friend to talk to someone who can help. Offer to help her find local support. Offer to go with her to the agency, the police, or court.

  • If your friend decides to stay, continue to be supportive. Your friend may decide to stay in the relationship, or she may leave and then go back many times. It may be hard for you to understand, but people stay in abusive relationships for many reasons. Be supportive, no matter what your friend decides to do.

  • If your friend decides to leave, continue to offer support. Even though the relationship was abusive, she may feel sad and lonely once it is over. She also may need help getting services from agencies or community groups.

  • Keep in mind that you can’t “rescue” your friend. She has to be the one to decide it’s time to get help. Support her no matter what her decision.

  • Be there for your friend no matter what. Abusive partners will often actively work to alienate people who are supports in the woman’s life. Even if she stays in the abusive relationship – especially if she stays in the relationship – she’ll need friends.

  • Get support for yourself through the Women’s 24-Hour Support Line, so that you can stick it out with her. Women often lose the support of friends and family who become frustrated with her decisions. That just increases her isolation and only serves the abusive partner.

To speak to someone at NSCSS, please call our office at 604-987-0366 or our 24-Hour Women’s Support Line at 604-987-3374.