What is Considered Domestic Violence in Canada?

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Domestic violence is on the rise in Canada with thousands of women and children seeking refuge in shelters across the country. According to the 2010 data, there were close to 99,000 victims of family violence in the country. This staggering statistic accounts for almost one-fourth of all the victims of violent crime. Women tended to be more susceptible to experiencing domestic violence than their male counterparts. In fact, the majority of the people injured by domestic violence were spouses.

Understanding what Canadian law considers to be domestic violence can be challenging because of the broad range of activities it can include. This charge can include the use of physical or sexual force, even if it is only threatened. A single instance of violence is sufficient enough to be considered domestic violence, even though regular abuse with assaultive or controlling actions will also fall into the same category.

Other actions that can result in domestic violence charges include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse (such as child pornography)
  • Kidnapping or forcible confinement
  • Trafficking of persons
  • Stalking (including indecent phone calls, trespassing, and other mischief)
  • Threats to harm children, pets, other people, or property

These actions must be done to a partner in an intimate relationship. While this can include current romantic entanglements, it also encompasses relationships between people in former dating relationships, common-law relationships, previous marriages, and couples who are parents of a child (even if they do not live together or have a relationship).

Domestic violence can be referred to by many different names including abuse, domestic assault, or domestic conflict. If the actions are directed toward a spouse, it may be labeled as spousal abuse or assault. Intimate partner abuse and assault also apply if you have not entered into wedlock with the perpetrator.

Still, there is a much broader category for family violence that can include an even greater number of offences. For example, financial abuse can also qualify under the family violence category. This includes actions such as theft, misappropriation of money held under direction, credit card theft, extortion, forgery, and fraud.

There is a rather broad understanding of what domestic violence is considered across Canada, but it is always taken very seriously. Many courts will issue a no-contact order until the trial is set and a final decision can be rendered. Most parts of Canada have developed initiatives that help to prevent domestic violence and protect the victims of the ordeal. It is best to abide by whatever terms have been set until the trial or appeal is over to prevent harsher measures from being taken. These are put in place to protect everyone’s best interests in a case.

If you face domestic violence charges or need criminal defence representation, you need a top-notch attorney to help. Contact Matthew Gould to serve as your experienced criminal defence trial lawyer. He can help you to know your rights, understand the law, and protect yourself from the harsh punishments that can come along with domestic violence charges.