In 2020, IMPACT engaged in a research process to create a common understanding of our definition of domestic and sexual violence. 

Our journey to a common understanding is still underway. Right now, we agree that:

  • An issue as complex as domestic and sexual violence is a component of large-scale social change.
  • The presence of domestic and sexual violence in our society is problematic.
  • The issue of domestic and sexual violence is extremely complex.
  • The optimal pathway to achieving our vision of ending domestic and sexual violence is through collaboration and partnerships across community stakeholders, systems and government. 
  • Research shows that structured cross sector coalitions are much more effective.
  • We have agreed we need to eradicate domestic and sexual violence. Our mandate is to figure out the best vehicle to do this. 

Common Definitions

IMPACT Mobilizers agreed to adopt the definition of sexual violence as used by the Alberta Association of Sexual Assault Services. These are working definitions and will be updated as needed. 


Domestic Violence is “the attempt, act or intent of someone within a relationship, where the relationship is characterized by intimacy, dependency or trust to engage in purposeful controlling or coercive pattern of which takes place over time in order for one individual to exert power, control or coercion over another.”

Controlling or coercive behaviour are:

  • Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
  • Coercive behaviour is a continuing act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.


Sexual violence is defined as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting including but not limited to home and work. On this website, the term sexual violence is used and is intended to be inclusive of sexual harassment, sexual abuse and sexual assault.