Post-separation intimate partner violence

Post-separation intimate partner violence occurs when a woman makes the decision to end the relationship and begins a process of reorganising her life. During this period of regaining power, the former partner’s strategies of domination and control are transformed, multiplied and maintained. The woman and her children are thus exposed to a greater risk of harm to their safety.

Why talk about it?

Post-separation forms of intimate partner violence are not very visible, are poorly understood and can have very serious consequences for the victims and those around them. Post-separation violence often goes unnoticed because it is too often interpreted as a parental conflict or a dispute between former intimate partners (see our section  Distinguishing between conflict and violence).

How to recognise it?

Your former partner:

  • tries to communicate with you in more ways than one;
  • changes or increases his or her control strategies;
  • threatens to hurt you, kill you, attack your children, etc.;
  • searches for you by questioning those around you;
  • posts derogatory remarks about you on social networks;
  • regularly loiters near your home;
  • breaks into your home without your permission;
  • does not respect the child custody agreement;
  • uses the children to send you messages;
  • threatens to take custody of your children away from you;
  • uses derogatory language when the children move from one parent to the other; or
  • makes you feel guilty about your role as a mother.

Do not hesitate to ask for help.

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Second stage housing: Mary Grace House

Second stage accommodations, like our Mary Grace House, have the following mission:

  • provide safe housing for women with or without children who decide to leave their abusive partners;
  • offer a range of specialised post-separation services relating to intimate partner violence to support women in their medical and psychological, legal and judicial, economic and financial efforts; and
  • offer women and mothers activities that help them rebuild their self-esteem and reclaim their full potential.

The dynamic of control strategies

To illustrate the dynamics of violence in a post-separation context, the image of the roundabout is evocative. The abuser may put the woman through periods of tension, abuse, justification and reconciliation, in one order or the other. Directed at the woman or those around her, the actions change and may take new directions.

In the dynamics of intimate partner violence, the break-up is one of the moments when the risk of homicide is greatest.

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