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Barriers to Leaving: Welcome
Barriers to Leaving: About
Barriers to Leaving: Immigants
Image by Jamie Street
Why It's Difficult to Leave

“Why do people stay in abusive relationships?” is posed to survivors, implying that they are to blame for the abuse.

“How did the abuser prevent the other person from leaving?” or “Why do abusers choose to abuse their partners?” are more appropriate.

Barriers to Escaping an Abusive Relationship

  • belief that staying is best for the children or fear of losing custody of children

  • lack of employment skills

  • financial dependency on the abuser

  • inability to afford legal assistance with divorce, custody or protection order proceedings

  • fear of court system intervention

  • isolation from social or family connections

  • victim is attempting to change in hope that abuse will stop

  • abuser expresses remorse and promises to change

  • abuser has degraded the victim to the point that the victim believes statements and lacks the self-confidence necessary to leave

  • lack of trust in the criminal justice system

  • maintenance of family honour

  • fear of abandonment by the victim’s family or potential for violence from the family if the victim leaves

Barriers Specific to Recent Immigrants

  • may feel alone, have trouble talking with or relating to Canadians, or be overcome with fear

  • religious and cultural constraints

  • may not have knowledge of Canadian laws, rights or support services available

  • language barriers that make it difficult for immigrants to navigate the legal system and to access services

  • may have been threatened with deportation by their sponsor or threatened with withdrawal of sponsorship of family members

  • may be scared of police involvement due to past experiences with police in their home countries, especially where police are symbols of human rights violations

  • maintenance of family and community honour

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