As librarians, we are often requested to select and evaluate information resources. In this short reference article, we would like to recommend a few reliable websites that offer high quality information on domestic violence. We have selected sites from reputable sources that present current information, as well as offer links to further help and research.
The Internet is often the starting point to information seeking, and websites dedicated to domestic violence are many and varied. Some serve as quick connectors to social and crisis resources in emergency times, others offer a comprehensive review of the problem and its solutions, and several focus on a particular aspect or population. We have divided our selections into comprehensive sites, connecting sites, research sites and specific issue sites.
These pages include substantial information as well as links. They address many of the information needs of domestic violence victims and survivors, including information about moving out (abuse information, shelter information, police information, money matters); issues after moving out (benefits, concerns about children, relocation, jobs, education); and legal concerns (child custody, court procedures, criminal procedures).
The Alberta Human Services Family Violence pages offer succinct but comprehensive information. The Family Law Violence Info Line (with information in 170 languages) and the Child Abuse Hotline are displayed on the front page. Links on the left hand margin direct the user to different topics for further information. Under “Where to go for help” there are links to information about financial support for Albertans fleeing abuse, services for aboriginal people, and sexual assault centres. Other links on the main menu offer information on shelters, children, rights, and supports. The “Materials and Resources” section is an extensive collection of brochures and pamphlets, some of which are translated into eight different languages.
Willownet: Abuse and the Law in Alberta. This is a website of the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA). Its development was funded by Status of Women Canada. CPLEA created the legal resources on this site specifically with rural college students in mind but the information is useful for colleges all across Alberta. Willownet provides legal information that may help if you are experiencing violence in a relationship.
Student Legal Services of Edmonton: Domestic Abuse and Your Legal Rights focuses on the legal process. The information, although not legal advice, is concise and useful. It includes basics on abuse, information about the possible trial process, and discussion of legal options, including explanations about protection orders, peace bonds and other court options. It also refers the reader to further resources and includes a list of fast referral numbers. One thing absent from this site is a “cover your tracks” information link for victims at risk of having their Internet searches discovered.
On the national level, the Department of Justice Canada’s Family Violence page is organized in clear and easy to navigate sections. “Learn more” includes information on forms and types of violence in concise bullet point paragraphs. “Get Help” offers information about different people and organizations that may be able to help, including a link to a directory of victim services all over Canada. There is also information about children, with sections on custody, parenting orders, and abduction. “Link to family violence resources” presents a list of links to government publications on children and family violence, elder abuse, and others.
Inform Alberta is a provincial on-line directory of publicly funded and not-for-profit community, health, social, and government organizations and services. It offers lists of agencies and non-for-profit organizations in the province. This directory is particularly useful to find local agencies in smaller locations, as it filters by location or postal code. Enter the search “family violence” and a postal code to get a list of providers in a specific area.
These are sites with broad background information, focused on research rather than crisis information.
The Domestic Violence Handbook: for Police and Crown Prosecutors in Alberta provides a wealth of information. It offers an excellent review of the factors, aspects, causes and results of family violence.
National Clearinghouse on Family Violence (Public Health Agency of Canada) provides access to many publications on behalf of the Family Violence Initiative, including overview papers, reports, discussion papers and handbooks on family violence issues. Click on “View Resources” to access some of its information.
Specific issues sites
Some sites are directed to specific populations or discuss particular aspects of domestic violence. Among the best:
- Family Violence Youth Site – A page for children, related to the Justice Canada Family Violence.
- Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network – a network of Albertans dedicated to increasing awareness and supporting a community response to elder abuse; their site provides resources and links on this topic.
- Family Violence Prevention Program – First Nations information from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
- Safety Under the Rainbow – Same-sex domestic violence.
Alberta Law Libraries can help
If you have questions about these or other sites, the Alberta Law Libraries can help you navigate the information on the Internet. We also have many in-house materials and databases to help you understand legal issues and processes and direct you to appropriate resources and agencies.