Abuse: Types of abuse
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
Abuse is a behaviour that scares, isolates, or controls another person. Abuse may be a pattern or a single incident. Abuse includes the following forms:
- physical, including assault and forcible confinement
- sexual, including sexual contact without consent
- psychological, including threats and intimidation
- financial, including fraud and extortion
- neglect, consisting of the failure to provide the necessities of life, which can cause serious harm
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Examples of types of abuse
|Type of abuse||Description||Examples|
|Physical abuse||Generally involves physical contact intended to cause feelings of intimidation, pain, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm||
|Sexual abuse||Generally encompasses any situation in which force or threat is used to obtain participation in non-consensual sexual activity or coercing a person to engage in sexual activity against their will||
|Psychological abuse||Generally where there is a pattern of coercive or controlling behaviour or iterated threats||
|Financial abuse||It is described as a form of abuse where a person has control over another person’s access to economic resources.||
|Neglect||Generally consists of when a family member who has a duty to care for a person fails to provide that person with basic needs||
The above examples are not exhaustive. Other types of physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse may also be taken into consideration.
Specific forms of abuse
- Forced marriage
- Gender-based violence
- Female genital mutilation or cutting
- Honour-based violence
- Family violence
Forced marriage is a form of violence that happens when one or both parties do not consent to the marriage. Unlike arranged marriages which take place with the consent of both parties, in forced marriages, individuals are coerced to marry, usually by family members, through threats, physical violence or emotional manipulation.
Gender-based violence is violence that is committed against someone based on their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE), real or perceived. The victims can be women, men, boys, girls, youth or any member of the LGBTQ2+ community.
Female genital mutilation or cutting includes procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Engaging in female genital mutilation or cutting and removing a child to undergo this procedure elsewhere is a criminal offence in Canada.
Honour-based violence is a form of violence which happens when family members believe that the victim has behaved in ways that bring shame or dishonour to the family. Manifestations of this form of violence include physical and emotional abuse, and may lead to death. The violence can be perpetrated by a partner or family member, and from the perpetrator's perspective, is used to protect family honour and restore the family’s reputation.
Family violence is considered to be any form of abuse or neglect that a child or adult experiences from a family member, or from someone with whom they have an intimate relationship. This can include child abuse, intimate partner violence, or elder abuse.
- for information on temporary foreign workers who are experiencing abuse or who are at risk of experiencing abuse in the context of their employment in Canada, see
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