We are here to help

When you are ready to share your story, we are hear to listen. There is no time limit on reporting Domestic Violence related incidents. At the Guelph Police Service, Detective Constable Ashley McArthur is our High Risk Domestic Violence Coordinator and is available to help when you are ready. You can reach Detective Constable McArthur at amcarthur@guelphpolice.ca or 519-824-1212 ext. 7105.

 What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence includes the use or threat of physical or sexual force, including emotional, or psychological abuse, or harassing/threatening behaviour directed between partners with whom there is (or has been) an intimate relationship.

 Criminal Code offences include but are not limited to:
  • Homicide
  • Assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Threatening death or bodily harm
  • Forcible confinement
  • Harassment/stalking
  • Abduction
  • Break and enter
  • Other property-related offences
  • With domestic violence, the offence can range in severity from a slap to a homicide.

These crimes are often part of a pattern of assaultive and or controlling behaviour, such as economic control and social isolation. Threats can often include harming other family members, pets and property. The violence is used to intimidate, humiliate or frighten the victims and make them feel powerless.

 Police may be involved in the following manner:
  • As a result of a 911 call
  • You report it to the police by telephone or in person
  • A witness to an event may also contact the police
  • Initial response:
    • Responding officers will conduct a thorough investigation and a report will be submitted
    • If the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has occurred, the suspect will be arrested and a charge or charges may be laid
    • If the suspect is not present, attempts will be made to locate and arrest the accused

If the accused can not be found, an arrest warrant will be obtained. The victim will be advised once the suspect has been arrested

 What are the warning signs of domestic violence?
  • Personality changes (angry, moody, agitated etc.).
  • Becoming withdrawn, closed, suddenly fearful or secretive.
  • Difficulty sleeping or abnormally tired.
  • Lower self-esteem, feeling negative about themselves.
  • Neglecting personal hygiene or personal appearance.
  • Physical signs of injuries like bruises, sores and cuts.
  • Making excuses for injuries which seem implausible.
  • Hiding injuries with excessive make-up, sunglasses, extra clothing.
  • Appetite changes - weight loss or weight gain.
  • Starting to use substances or increasing in substance use.
  • Stops attending usual activities (church, gym, family and holiday gatherings).

If you see any of these signs of domestic violence, be there for the victim and listen, be non-judgmental, and help your friend or family member develop safety plans and contact resources.

 Safety Tips

The following is a brief list of Domestic Violence safety tips:

 At Home
  • Leave the home or call police before the violence starts, if possible.
  • If possible, keep a charged cell phone with you at all times. Be aware that even if you have no minutes on a minute plan your cell phone will work to call 911.
  • If you need to leave your home or workplace, know the best escape routes and practice your emergency exit plans. Teach any children the escape route as well.
  • Plan where you can go if you need to leave. These places should be safe locations.
  • If possible, make a safe area in your home that you and children can go to when you feel threatened and cannot leave. Avoid kitchens, bathrooms, the garage and other rooms which contain anything that can be used as a weapon. Don't use a room without outside access.
  • If possible, change all the locks on the home and install an alarm system and good lighting such as motion detectors.
  • Keep your purse / wallet nearby if you need to leave.
  • Keep spare keys to your car and home with you or in a safe place.
  • Also keep copies of important documents in a safe place, preferably with a friend or family member outside of your home. These documents include:
    • Birth certificates
    • Passports
    • Driver's licence(s)
    • Insurance information
    • Bank information
    • Mortgage or lease papers
    • Immigration documents
    • Health records
    • School records
    • Other court documents
  • Keep a small bag of clothes packed and hidden.
 At Work
  • Make your employer/co-workers aware of your situation and ask them to call police if they see your partner around your workplace. Give them a photo of your partner if you have one.
  • Direct employers / co-workers not to give out your contact information to anyone and not to give out your work schedule.
  • Arrange for someone at work to walk with you to your car or walk with you from the building when leaving work.
 While Driving or While In Transit
  • If a problem arises while you are driving, use your cell phone to call police or On Star if you have it. Honk your horn, flash your lights and drive to a police station that you know is open or to a heavily-populated public place such as a well-lit coffee shop.
  • If you use public transportation, sit close to the driver. If you can, have a friend walk you home or meet you and walk you home together.
  • Let friends and relatives know where you are at all times. Also let them know the times you are expected home (and be home at those times) so that they can contact the police in the event you are missing.
  • Tell friends, neighbours and family about the domestic abuse and create a code word or signal with them to let them know that you need help so that they can call the police for you.
 With Children
  • Ensure that your children's schools and/or daycare provider has a copy of all orders, including all restraining orders, custody and access orders as well as a photo of the accused party.
  • Decide on a code word for your children to let them know to go and get help. Let them know where to go and how to use the phone to place a 911 call to police. Rehearse with them what to do and say.
 Reporting domestic violence

If you or someone you know is involved in an emergency situation, please call 9-1-1 immediately. Otherwise, call the Guelph Police Service non-emergency line at 519-824-1212.

If you need to leave your home and need to return to get your belongings, the Guelph Police Service can assist by attending the scene as you remove your belongings.

Our investigators are responsible for following up the incident, interviewing the complainant and assessing the person's level of risk. We also help the complainant navigate the legal system and connect the victim with support services within the community. If the person is at risk, we may move victims to a shelter or provide safety planning and other options. 

We also investigate all high-risk, habitual stalking offences, especially where there was a previous relationship.

We understand that you might not yet be ready to speak with the police.

We're here when you're ready, but in the meantime please consider contacting a Guelph Community Support Agency:
Guelph-Wellington Women In Crisis - 519-836-5710 or 1-800-265-7233
Family & Children's Services Of Guelph And Wellington County - 519-824-2410 or 1-800-265-8300
Victim Services Wellington - 519-824-1212 ext. 7304
Guelph General Hospital Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Services - 519-837-6440 ext. 2728