For help in your community, call:

Police Call 911, or look for the emergency police number in your community inside the front cover of your B.C. Tel phone book. Victim Information Line Call 1-800-563-0808. If you have a disability Call the 24-hour B.C. Tel Message Relay Centre at 711 (for TTY users with a hearing or speech disability); or Call 1-800-855-0511 (voice activated).


Introduction I Who this booklet is for I What this booklet is about I What is an advocate, or victim service worker? I. Violence against women in relationships — What does it mean? I Some examples of abuse I What is against the law? I Are you the only one? I Women who are newcomers to Canada 2. Planning for your safety, and your children’s safety 3. Going to the police I Calling the police I What happens when the police come? I Getting to a safe place I Arrest I The bail hearing I Getting information about the case I The police prepare a report I Will the man be charged? I What if you don’t call the police right away?

1 1 1 2

5 5 7 8 9

11 13 13 14 15 15 16 17 18 19 19


4. If you leave a violent relationship I What about the children? I Your home I What to do about money I How to get legal help 5. The court process I Introduction I The Crown counsel I Being a witness I Victim impact statements I The first appearance I The trial I If he’s found not guilty I If he’s found guilty I Sentencing I After sentencing 6. What else you can do I Peace bonds (recognizance) I Restraining orders I B.C. Protection Order Registry I Criminal injury compensation I Suing your husband, boyfriend, or ex-partner 7. What if you want to end the relationship? I Maintenance and support I Custody I Access I Separation agreements I Property 8. Who can help

21 21 22 22 23 25 25 25 26 27 27 29 30 30 30 32 33 33 34 35 36 36

37 37 38 39 39 39 41


Who this booklet is for
This booklet is for any woman who needs legal information about her rights because she is being abused, assaulted, or harassed by her husband, boyfriend, or ex-partner. If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, please give this booklet to her. The information in this booklet is for women who have chosen to stay with an abusive partner, or who have left or are trying to leave. When a woman tries to leave a partner who is abusive, the man may become more violent. If you know someone who is being abused in a gay or lesbian relationship, the information in this booklet also applies to them.

What this booklet is about
This booklet explains what you can do to protect your safety — whether you choose to leave or to stay — and what kind of help you can get from the police, courts, and people in your community if you are being abused by a husband, boyfriend, or ex-partner. It includes information about —

what violence in a relationship is, I what you can do if your husband, boyfriend, or ex-partner has assaulted you or

You can also find victim service workers in most police stations and at the office of the Crown counsel (the lawyer for the government). what to do if you choose to end your relationship.C. or is criminally harassing you. or victim service worker? If you are in an abusive relationship. You may want to have an advocate or a victim service worker with you when you are dealing with the police and the courts. how to get a peace bond or a restraining order. A victim service worker could also be your advocate. They can help you and your children — whether you decide to leave or stay in the relationship. An advocate can be anyone in your community who wants to help you with your situation: a relative or friend. you can get free help from an advocate or a victim support service worker in your community. there are 33 specialized victim service centres to help women who are in abusive relationships. what the police do when they are called.I I I I I threatened to assault you. transition house. An 2 . what the court process is. or someone working at your local women’s centre. Throughout the province in B. and who can help with emotional support and legal advice. or immigrant service agency. What is an advocate.

For example. and that you need. If you can’t find an advocate or a victim service worker in your community. help you by being with you in court.Introduction advocate. can provide emotional support and can — I I I I I help you find out what your rights are. help you find out information about your case. or a victim service worker. call the Victim Information Line at 1-800-563-0808. An advocate or a victim service worker may also be able to help the police and other people in the justice system with your case. they can talk to the police about — I interviewing you. and I helping you participate at interviews or in court. 3 . help you learn what you will have to do in court. and help you find information about the services that are available. I giving you information. in your community.

The government is particularly concerned. Because each person’s case is different.Important. The government’s Violence Against Women in Relationships policy recognizes that there are many types of abuse. common-law. though. the government says that the police and the courts must treat violence against women as a serious crime.. They must do everything they can to stop it. by men in married. It is important to remember that violence against women is not a private. It is not intended to give you legal advice on your particular problem. the focus of the Violence Against Women in Relationships policy is on women who are being abused. or dating relationships. See “Who can help” on page 41 of this booklet. Because of this. and that abuse can happen in all kinds of intimate relationships. The information in this booklet is based on the Violence Against Women in Relationships policy. family matter. Note: This publication explains the law in general. Assault and harassment are crimes.C. or who have been abused. please read: In B. about widespread violence against women by their male partners. you may need to get legal help. 4 .

taking the only vehicle when you live far from town. verbal. Some examples of abuse Abuse can be physical. they are usually talking about abuse. Violence against women in relationships — What does it mean? When people talk about violence against women in relationships. Abuse includes a range of behaviour — from intimidation and threats to physical or sexual assault. psychological. emotional. or financial. or calling you names 5 . insulting you.1. sexual. not letting you see friends or family) I yelling at you. An abuser uses threats and violence to gain power and control over his partner and take away her self-worth. These are some examples of abusive behaviour: I humiliating or degrading you in front of others I isolating you or stopping you from leaving the home (including removing the phone.

where you go. at work. punching. damaging property taking your money or controlling all the money in the household and not letting you have any threatening to have you deported opening and reading your mail or other private papers following you or watching you wherever you are repeatedly phoning you (for example. or threatening you with a weapon breaking your things. confused. who you see threatening to hurt you. your children. or in the middle of the night) forcing you into sexual activity that you don’t want shoving. or anything that is special to you (like a pet or something you treasure) frightening you by driving recklessly. your partner or ex-partner may be very sorry or very loving. If you are involved with a man who is abusive. and gradually increase to physical or sexual violence. someone you know. slapping. After incidents of abuse. you may be feeling frightened. and blaming you for everything controlling and limiting what you do. or kicking you hurting you with an object of any kind Abuse may start out as verbal or emotional. choking. 6 . and alone.I I I I I I I I I I I I I constantly criticizing you.

Criminal harassment (stalking) is another important charge to know about. it is criminal harassment (stalking) and it is a crime: I contacts you over and over again (for example. Assault is the most common charge used against a man who is abusing his partner. and you believe that he can do it I forces you to do things you do not want to do for his sexual pleasure Criminal harassment (stalking) Criminal harassment is unwanted attention: a pattern of threats and actions that makes you afraid for your safety or your children’s safety. But many kinds of abuse are also against the law — they are crimes.Violence against women What is against the law? Any kind of abuse is harmful. Assault If your partner or ex-partner does any of the things listed below. If anyone. it is assault and it is a crime: I hits you or physically hurts you I threatens to hit you or physically hurt you. It may make you feel you can’t do what you want or go where you want. especially an ex-partner. and the police can lay charges. does any of the things listed below and makes you afraid for your safety. or calls you over and over and hangs up without speaking 7 . at work or at home in the middle of the night) I makes indecent phone calls to you.

One in six women who are now married reported violence by their husbands. to help the police with your case. boyfriend. parks outside your house) I threatens you or other family members or friends I sends you gifts you do not want I I threatens to destroy property or harm your pet does anything else that is threatening and that makes you afraid he will harm you If any of the things described above are happening to you. Are you the only one? No. Abuse by boyfriends or on dates is also common. or ex-partner. A 1993 survey conducted by Statistics Canada found that 25% of all women have experienced violence from a husband. Also. You have a right to protection. One half of the women who have been married before reported violence by their ex-husbands. and where it happened. and from all racial and cultural groups can be abused. call the police right away. including what happened. the time. the date.I follows you or watches you or other family members (for example. Another study has shown that there may be as many as 35 violent incidents before a woman 8 . Assault and criminal harassment are against the law. Women of all age groups. keep a written record of every incident. from all economic and social classes.

pressures from family. call the police. If you are a newcomer you may be afraid of being deported if you contact the police or a service that can help. or because you are a newcomer to Canada. In Canada. here are some things that you should know: 9 . an average of two women are killed by their partners every week. it is important to remember: Violence against women in relationships is not a private. This could make it especially difficult for you to protect yourself from abuse. racism. If you are a senior or a woman with disabilities you may be particularly dependent on your husband or boyfriend to take care of your daily needs. You may have more difficulty convincing people that the abuse is really happening. family matter. (See the next section for what the law says about women who are newcomers to Canada. If you are being assaulted or harassed. It is hard for any woman to take action to stop abuse in a relationship. Women who are newcomers to Canada If you are a newcomer to Canada and your husband is violent towards you.Violence against women will call the police.) If you are being abused. Assault and harassment are crimes. You may also feel particularly isolated because of language.

(It is important to have your advocate or victim service worker with you when you apply for welfare. You may be able to withdraw your sponsorship of your husband.I If you have permanent residence status. 10 . I If you are sponsored by your husband and you leave him. get legal help. you may be able to get welfare.) I If you are a refugee claimant or you do not have permanent residence status. you may be able to find a lawyer who speaks your language. If English is not your first language. Ask your advocate or victim service worker for the names of lawyers and interpreters. even if your husband is sponsoring you. I If you are sponsoring your husband and he assaults you. you will not be deported if you leave the relationship. get legal help right away. Canadian immigration guidelines offer some protection to women who are being assaulted by their partners.

and your children's safety It can be very difficult to leave a relationship when you are being abused. Making a safety plan means doing things like: I telling neighbours or friends to call the police if they hear frightening or loud noises. To help keep you and your children safe. A safety plan means thinking about what you need to stay safe. But whether you choose to stay or to leave. The police and court orders may be able to offer some protection. like a transition house. where he will not know to look for you) 11 . you need to have a safety plan — whether you have decided to leave or stay in your relationship. getting information. your safety must come first. or if they see anything suspicious I memorizing the telephone number of a transition house or safe home for women I thinking about where you can go if you decide to leave (a place that is safe. but there are limits to what they can do.2. Planning for your safety. and talking over your plan with people who can help.

especially if your circumstances change (for example. have more children. your victim service worker. Remember. become ill. 12 . call the legal aid office closest to you for help with getting certified photocopies) Read “If you leave a violent relationship” (page 21) and “What if you want to end the relationship?” (page 37) for more suggestions about your children and other safety issues. and other important papers for you and your children in a safe place (if keeping original documents is a problem. passports. Ask someone you trust to help you with your safety plan. It could be your advocate. if you move. or if your situation gets more abusive). and cancelling joint credit cards packing a suitcase for you and the children and leaving it with a friend putting an extra set of keys for the house and car in a safe place getting legal advice about your situation putting ID.I I I I I putting some money in a safe place. a little at a time. or a friend. planning for your safety is something you need to think about on a regular basis.

sexually abused you. Tel Message Relay Centre at 711 (for TTY users with hearing or speech disabilities) or 1-800-855-0511 (voice activated). or ex-partner has hit you. (If you know someone who is being abused and she doesn’t speak English. Tell the police — I that you are in danger. or is threatening or harassing you. tell her she can call 911 and ask for an interpreter. If you have a disability. The emergency telephone number is inside the front cover of the phone book. 13 .) When the police answer. The person who answers the phone needs to know what is happening. she can say “police.C. you can call the 24-hour B. give your name and address. boyfriend. I what the man is doing or has done. Try to speak slowly and clearly. It is 911 in the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area and in many other parts of B. When she calls. You will also need to answer all the questions you are asked. Be sure to check the number for your community.” and what language she speaks.3. call the police.C. Going to the police Calling the police If your husband.

If you know where he is. boyfriend. Tell the police if you have tried to leave the relationship. and if you already have a peace bond or restraining order. They can arrest him even if you don’t want them to. tell the police. the police can still arrest him if they find him. or that he might do it again. they will probably arrest him (see page 15). If your partner or ex-partner leaves before the police arrive. If the police find that your partner or expartner has assaulted or threatened you. The police should know about this because your partner or ex-partner may become more violent.I I I I I if he has a weapon and what it is. if he has been violent before. or have told your partner you are leaving. 14 . they will talk to you to find out what has happened. What happens when the police come? When the police come to your house. if you have children with you. The government’s policy about violence against women in relationships says the police must arrest the man if there is enough evidence. Tell them if you are afraid for your safety and what your husband. or ex-partner has done to make you afraid. if either you or the children have been hurt.

If you stay in the family home. and your police case number (ask for this card if you don’t get it). They will also collect medical evidence of the assault. Remember: You have the right to ask questions about any medical examination. Take the children with you. you can ask the police to take you and your children there. If your partner or ex-partner returns you can ask the police to come back. Getting to a safe place If there is a transition house or safe home in your area. Most hospital emergency departments will be able to help you. the police can take you to a hospital or doctor. to protect their safety and improve your chances of getting custody later. it’s a good idea to have the locks changed. and to refuse treatment. relatives. contact you. or to a motel. or 15 .Going to the police The police should give you a card with their name and phone number on it. Arrest If the police arrest your partner or ex-partner. If you have been hurt. to have a friend or advocate with you. Or you can ask the police to take you and the children to friends. but the police or courts will make an order that tells him there are certain things he cannot do (for example. or go to your house). one of these two things can happen: He will be released.

The judge will say what things he has to do to be released. It also means that you cannot phone or write to your partner or expartner.” This means your partner or ex-partner cannot phone you or write to you. or cannot use drugs or alcohol. If you want a no-contact order. The judge does this by making a “no-contact order. boyfriend. you must tell the investigating police officer.” to see if he will be released and what the conditions are. and will have to appear in front of a justice of the peace or judge in a courtroom for a “bail hearing. send him gifts. No-contact orders The judge can order your husband. The bail hearing At the bail hearing. The police will want to know about other times that your partner or ex-partner has been violent.He will be kept in jail overnight. boyfriend. the judge will decide if your husband. These things are called the “conditions of bail. or ask someone else to give him a message. a condition of bail may be that he cannot own guns or other weapons (firearms).” For example. or ask someone else to give you a message. send gifts. or ex-partner should be let out of jail while he or she deals with the charges against your partner or ex-partner. The police will then put the reasons for having a nocontact order in their report to the Crown 16 . or ex-partner to stay away from your home or where you work and not to contact you either directly or indirectly.

including information about: 17 . If your husband. Getting information about the case If you want to find out what is happening with your partner or ex-partner’s case. or ex-partner does not do what the conditions of bail or the no-contact order say. or the police emergency number in your community. Conditions of bail Ask your advocate or your victim service worker to help you find out from the Crown counsel’s office what the conditions of bail are. Keep a copy of the no-contact order with you at all times.Going to the police counsel. phone 911. phone your advocate or your victim service worker. boyfriend. If your partner or ex-partner breaks any of the conditions of bail or a no-contact order. The investigating police officer will give you a card with his or her name and phone number and your police case file number on it. Under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) you have the right to get up-to-date information about the case. The Crown counsel is the lawyer for the government who will tell the judge why your partner or ex-partner should stay away from you. he can be arrested again and charged with “breach” of bail or an order. This is in addition to the first charge of assault or criminal harassment.

If the Crown approves of charges. (It is important to tell the police as many details as you can remember. They will do this even if you have not been hurt or if you do not want to be a witness. you can bring your advocate or victim service worker with you. the police will “lay a charge. or ex-partner. and to ensure that orders are registered.” If the police interview you again later. boyfriend. they are required to investigate your case and prepare a report. who decides whether or not your partner or ex-partner can be formally accused of a crime (“charged with a criminal offence”). 18 . call the Victim Information Line at 1-800-563-0808. They will ask you questions about what happened.) The police will then give this report to the Crown counsel. The police prepare a report Even if the police do not arrest your husband.I I I I I I the organizations and services that can help you compensation for injuries how the criminal justice system works the status of the police investigation and the court case how the man’s sentence will be carried out your right to privacy For information about any orders against your partner or ex-partner.

you have the right to know the status of the police investigation and the court case involving your partner or ex-partner.. Also. Talk to your advocate or victim service worker to find out what you can do. they must send a report to the Crown counsel and ask for approval to charge him. The police do not need your agreement or consent to do this. Even if you don’t call the police right away. if — I I no charges are laid by the Crown counsel. place. Call the 19 . Remember.) This makes it easier for the police to get the evidence they need. and you are not satisfied with the Crown’s decision. you still have the right to get help. and as many specific details as you can remember about what happened. the government’s policy on violence against women in relationships says that charges must be laid if there is evidence of assault or criminal harassment. If the police believe a man has committed assault or criminal harassment in a relationship. What if you don’t call the police right away? It’s a good idea to write down what happened and report the assault or harassment as soon as possible.C. you have the right to an explanation. (Include the time. You can also complain. date it happened. so that you remember the details.Going to the police Will the man be charged? In B.

police or go in person to the police station to report the assault or harassment. take your advocate or victim service worker with you. If you can. 20 .

If you leave a violent relationship What about the children? Take the children with you when you leave your home.4. Be careful about your own safety if you go back for the children. and your children’s safety” (page 11). If you can’t go back to get them. If you can’t take them. 21 . get legal advice right away. If you are afraid that your children are in danger. Or call the Helpline for Children by dialing 0 and asking for Zenith 1234. The police can make sure that you are safe. go back to get them as soon as you can. Ask a police officer to come with you. See also “Planning for your safety. If he refuses to let you take the children or he has a court order giving him custody. call the nearest office of the Ministry for Children and Families. but they cannot force your partner or ex-partner to give you the children if you don’t have a court order giving you custody. to protect them and improve your chances of getting custody (the right to take care of them) later. Phone the police in advance to set up a time. call your advocate or victim service worker right away.

boyfriend. Contact legal aid to see if they can help you.) If you stay in the home and your husband. If you decide to stay separated from your partner and you have no money. you may be able to get an order later from a judge saying that you have the legal right to stay in the home with your children. to go with you. or ex-partner is arrested. but you don’t have enough money. you can apply for regular “income assistance” (welfare/ disability benefits). you may be able to get a no-contact court order saying he must stay away from your home. When you are on hardship assistance there are some benefits you cannot get.Your home Even if you leave the home at first. This is called an “exclusive occupancy order. (See “The bail hearing” on page 16. contact the Ministry of Human Resources (welfare) and apply for “hardship assistance. or ex-partner. You can also apply to court to get financial support (maintenance) from your husband.” You need a lawyer to go to court with you to get this order. boyfriend. (See “Who can help” on page 41.” This is emergency money they can give you quickly.) What to do about money If you have a place to stay for now. or your victim service worker. It is important to get off hardship assistance and start receiving income assistance as soon as possible. Ask your advocate. 22 .

If you cannot afford a lawyer. If you want 23 . Remember. contact the credit card company to cancel them or get your name removed. pension. Tell the person you talk to that it is an emergency. call the Lawyer Referral Service or your local women’s organization for the names of lawyers. take your money out right away. How to get legal help You may need to talk to a lawyer right away about the children. child support. go to a legal aid office to apply for legal aid. money. If you have money in a joint bank account. See “Who can help” at the end of this booklet (page 41). if you already receive money. If your pension or disability cheque is automatically deposited into your joint bank account. get legal advice. or home or other property you shared with your boyfriend or husband. If you do not qualify for legal aid. If you own a house. contact the office that sends you the cheques to tell them you have separated from your partner. If you have credit cards in both your names. You can talk to this lawyer for 30 minutes for $10.If you leave Also. or disability) that you have just left an abusive relationship. like a pension or disability cheque. Lawyer Referral will give you the name of a lawyer in your community who can help. make other arrangements. it is important to tell the office(s) sending you money (income assistance. car. or other property together. Give them your new address.

to hire this lawyer for more help. ask how much she or he will charge you. 24 .

though. 25 . as well as court hearings and the trial itself. it is a good idea to have your advocate or victim service worker with you as you go through the court process. It is important to remember. that many women who have gone through this process have found it helpful in the end. After the police have prepared their report. This includes any interviews that you have with the police or Crown counsel. The court process Introduction When a man is charged with assault or criminal harassment.5. he then has to go to court. This court process is difficult for anyone. The case may move slowly through the system. For example. and that there are people who can help you. but especially for a woman who has been assaulted or harassed. the Crown counsel decides if there is enough evidence to charge the man who assaulted or harassed you. The Crown counsel The Crown counsel is the lawyer for the government. At times you may feel as if you are the one who is being charged with an offence.

You will be given a paper called a “subpoena. The Crown counsel is not acting as your lawyer. You will be asked to “testify” (say what happened to you) at the trial. or ex-partner guilty. If you need an interpreter. so that they can arrange an interpreter for your interview and for the trial. or contact your advocate or victim service worker. He or she will consider if it is in the interests of the public to lay charges. 26 . If you have a disability. and if it is likely that the judge will find your husband. boyfriend. be sure to tell the Crown counsel before your interview.) If you do not hear from the Crown counsel. you are an important witness.” It tells you that you have to come to court and when the trial is going to happen. the Crown counsel at the trial might not be the same person who first interviews you. or you may have to pick it up from the police station. The subpoena will probably be delivered to you in person. let the Crown know what assistance you will need. such as special transportation. but it may come in the mail.It is important to remember that the Crown counsel makes this decision — and does not need your agreement to do so. (In some areas of the province. The Crown counsel is required to make every possible effort to interview you before the trial and explain what will happen in court. Being a witness If the Crown counsel decides that the case will go ahead. call to find out about the progress of the case.

ask them about it. although you can be there if you want to. The Crown counsel will tell you if you need to be present. especially if there are other witnesses or there is other evidence that the assault or harassment took place. you can explain what effect the assault or harassment has had on you and your children. The first appearance You do not usually have to be in court or say anything at a first appearance. or your victim service worker. The Crown counsel uses these statements when she or he recommends to the judge what kind of sentence the man should get if he is convicted. If this happens. However. for help with filling out the victim impact statement form. Victim impact statements The Crown counsel may ask if you want to fill out a victim impact statement. Usually the Crown counsel will interview you before the trial.) If the Crown counsel does not talk to you about a victim impact statement. and a letter that says who you can ask for help. a brochure about the form.The court process If you decide that you do not want to be a witness. (You can also ask your advocate. explain to the judge why you do not want to be a witness. the judge may tell you that you have to testify. She or he will also mail you a victim impact statement form for you to fill out. the case may still go ahead. The man who assaulted you (called “the accused”) will be 27 . In this statement.

) If your partner or ex-partner says he is not guilty. 28 .C. the judge may now release him on bail until the trial starts. This means that he cannot even telephone you. The court will set a sentencing date when the judge will say what will happen to your husband. there will not be a trial. being released on bail will include the condition that he stay away from the family home and that he not contact you. or to get treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. who you should call to find out what bail conditions have been set.” he will usually be asked if he intends to get a lawyer. Ask your advocate. The judge may order him to go to a treatment program for abusive men. Another condition may be that he cannot have a gun or other weapons. Usually. At this “first appearance.ordered to appear in front of the judge. a trial will be held at a later date. and if he pleads guilty or not guilty. You need to know about the conditions of bail. Victim Information Line at 1-800-563-0808. boyfriend. or give someone else a message for you. If your partner or ex-partner has been in jail until the first appearance. or victim service worker. If your partner or ex-partner says he is guilty. or call the B. or expartner (see “Sentencing” on page 31). (You can talk to the Crown counsel about asking the judge to order treatment.

photographs of your injuries. I The Crown counsel may call other witnesses. Often. Your children will not be asked to be witnesses unless it is absolutely necessary. The defence lawyer’s questions may be 29 . If you do not want to give your address out loud in court. but not always. the Crown counsel may present them as part of the case. The Crown counsel will present their case first: I The Crown counsel will present evidence to show that the offence happened. your partner or expartner will be called as a witness. or medical records. and perhaps your doctor. friends or neighbours. This person can also go to court with you for the assault trial. I If there are pieces of evidence. be sure to tell the Crown counsel before the trial begins. will be questioned (“cross-examined”) by your partner or ex-partner’s lawyer. to see what happens. such as the police. you may want to visit the courthouse to watch some other trials. a weapon. including you. The lawyer defending your partner or expartner (the accused) will then present their case. victim service worker. You can have your advocate. I The Crown’s witnesses. The process is the same as it was for the Crown counsel.The court process The trial Before your partner or ex-partner’s trial. such as torn clothing. You will be called as an important witness. or anyone else you want go with you to see another trial.

the judge may ask for a pre-sentence report. If that happens. In some cases.more difficult for you to answer than the Crown’s. A probation 30 . your partner or ex-partner may decide to defend himself without a lawyer. you may have to deal with your husband. or ex-partner is found not guilty. or ex-partner questioning you when you testify. This means that the judge will decide what should happen to him. Appeal judges make their decisions based on all the written notes taken at the original trial. After hearing the facts presented by both sides. boyfriend. or ex-partner is found guilty. this does not mean that the judge didn’t believe you. boyfriend. Sentencing Before deciding on a sentence. That is because the defence lawyer’s job is to make your story seem less believable. and the law says that the accused has to be proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal trials follow strict rules of evidence. If he’s found not guilty If your husband.” In rare cases. If he’s found guilty If your husband. the Crown counsel will decide to appeal a judge’s decision. boyfriend. the judge will make a decision. he will be sentenced.

Suspended sentence and/or probation For a set period of time. If your husband. these are some of the sentences he could receive: Conditional discharge If he follows certain conditions (like staying away from you and the children.) 31 . he will not have a criminal record.The court process officer prepares this report and may interview you.” Usually. and people who are found guilty but not sent to jail.) Be clear with the probation officer about any concerns you have about the safety of you and your children. The probation officer should have seen your victim impact statement if you completed one. and will help the judge decide. boyfriend. you may want to update it. or ex-partner is found guilty. he must follow all the conditions set by the judge in a “probation order. The information in it will help the Crown recommend a sentence. attending a treatment program for abusive men or for drug or alcohol addiction) for a certain period of time. one of these conditions is that he report to a probation officer. If you wrote a victim impact statement right after the assault happened. getting counselling. The judge may also order him to go to a treatment program for abusive men. (The probation officer must tell you what conditions are in the order. (Probation officers supervise people who are released on bail. or for drug or alcohol addiction.

for ongoing support and information. he can be arrested and sentenced for not following the probation order. boyfriend. After sentencing It is important to tell corrections staff. as well as for the original offence. 32 . or ex-partner. He may be allowed to serve his jail sentence on weekends so he won’t lose his job.If he does not follow the conditions of the probation order. he might be sent to jail. and the Parole Board. It is also important to stay in touch with your advocate and/or your victim service worker. if your address or telephone number change. Jail If the assault was severe or he has committed criminal offences before. This is so they can send you up-to-date information about parole hearings and release dates for your husband.

you do not have to prove that your partner or ex-partner has assaulted you. What else you can do If your husband. boyfriend. and to get some money back for what the abuse has cost you. This means that he must not harass you or threaten you. but not convicted. To get a peace bond. The peace bond can contain a no-contact order (see “The bail hearing” on page 16). for example) can apply for a peace bond on your behalf. You only have to show that you have a reasonable fear that he will injure you or a member of your family or damage your property. Peace bonds (recognizance) A peace bond is an order a judge makes in court (using section 810 of the Criminal Code of Canada). It tells your husband. or expartner that he must “be of good behaviour and keep the peace” for up to 12 months.6. Anyone who knows about the situation you are in (a police officer. or ex-partner is — I I not charged. there are other legal steps you can take to protect your safety. But it often 33 . or charged. boyfriend.

When you apply for a peace bond there will be a hearing in front of a judge. If you cannot afford a lawyer. Each person in the dispute has their own lawyer. they can find out about it by calling the Victim Information Line at 1-800-563-0808. or ex-partner breaks the peace bond. The police can tell you how to apply. If you want to get a restraining order. it is usually easier to do if you have a lawyer. Restraining orders A restraining order is an order a judge makes in civil court using the Family Relations Act. Usually you get a restraining order at the same time that you are dealing with something else in civil court (for example. There are several kinds of restraining orders. A restraining order tells the man who assaulted you that he cannot harass or threaten you. If your husband. it is important that you get a copy and that you keep it with you at all times. call the police right best if you apply for it yourself. such as who will have custody of the children. if you are applying for custody or maintenance). If you don’t have a copy of your peace bond with you when you call the police. go to the nearest legal aid office to apply for legal aid. Tell the person 34 . boyfriend. Civil courts deal with legal disputes that do not involve criminal charges. If you are granted a peace bond at this hearing. Tell them that you have a peace bond.

Because the Registry may not be up to date.C. call the Victim Information Line at 1-800-563-0808. You can ask the police to call the Registry or you can get information from the Registry by calling the Victim Information Line. To do this.What else you can do you talk to that it is an emergency. The police can then act to enforce the order right away. B.. It includes restraining orders and peace bonds. and whether it is still valid (still applies). it is important that your order is 35 . You also need to tell the Protection Order Registry if your phone number or address changes. it is also important to keep a copy of your protection order with you at all times.C. If you do not have a copy with you when you call the police. tell them that you have a restraining order. Make sure that the lawyer includes in the restraining order a statement saying that it can be enforced by a police or RCMP officer. Remember. This means that if you call the police about a violent partner.C. Keep a copy of the restraining order with you at all times. what it says. 24 hours a day. courts. If you call the police. the central Protection Order Registry keeps a record of protection orders issued by B. they can find out within minutes whether you have a protection order. Protection Order Registry In B. they can find out about it by calling the Victim Information Line at 1-800-563-0808. seven days a week. You can call this number for free.

pain and suffering. If you win you will be given damages. and counselling. Call the Registry as soon as an order is made to make sure it is registered. Contact your local women’s organization or the Lawyer Referral Service to find a lawyer in your area. Damages means the money that a judge orders him to pay for the pain. or ex-partner You can sue the man who has abused you — in civil court. so that you will be advised if your husband. It is not necessary for your husband. or from the Workers’ Compensation Board. boyfriend. After the crime has been reported to the police. Criminal injury compensation You can apply for criminal injury compensation. you have one year to apply for criminal injury compensation. or ex-partner is being released from prison. suffering. You can get an application form from the police. or ex-partner to have been charged. and loss of time at work that he has caused you. boyfriend. 36 .registered and the information on it accurate. there are time limitations. In some cases. boyfriend. It covers such things as lost wages. Suing your husband. talk to a lawyer right away. If you want to do this. from your advocate or your victim service worker. This is money that the government gives you if you have been injured as a result of a crime. but there must be a police report. legal aid may pay part of the cost of suing if you are financially eligible.

talk to a lawyer or a family justice counsellor in family court.) The government now has guidelines about how much child support he will have to pay.7. Tell the lawyer or counsellor if you do not want mediation services. You can call the province’s child support information 37 . It is important to remember that if there has been violence in the relationship. Maintenance and support Maintenance and support are the legal terms used for money paid to you and/or your children by your ex-partner. mediation is rarely helpful. (He may or may not be ordered to pay money to support you as well. whether you are married or living common-law. apply for legal aid. What if you want to end the relationship? If you want to end the relationship. Both parents have a legal duty to care for their children. The following sections are about some of the things to discuss with a lawyer. Your children’s father may be ordered by a court to give you money to help support the children if they are living with you. If you cannot afford a lawyer.

Family Maintenance Enforcement Program may be able to help you collect the money from him. the B. It is important to talk to your lawyer about this issue when making custody arrangements. at 1-888-216-2211.C.. Later.). 38 . Call them for free at 1-800-663-7616 or in Victoria at (250) 356-8889. If the court has ordered the children’s father to pay maintenance or support. and your children’s safety” (page 11) for more information about the children.line. when you go to court to settle things. You need a lawyer for this.C. Guardianship Guardianship gives parents the right to make decisions about how their child is raised (including education. for free from anywhere in B. etc. Custody Custody is a parent’s legal right to take care of the children. apply right away to family court for a temporary custody order of your children — even if you didn’t take the children with you. religious training.” Read “What about the children?” (page 21) and “Planning for your safety. If you leave the relationship. the judge will decide who gets custody based on what is “in the best interest of the children.

” The father will be allowed to see the children only if he follows certain conditions. Separation agreements A separation agreement is a legal document that says what you and your ex-partner have agreed to about such things as maintenance. you have a right to a fair share of the family assets. like not drinking or not using drugs for 48 hours before the visit. Property Whether you are married or living commonlaw. furniture. and other things that the family used together. not taking them out of the province. or seeing them only at specific times. even if he has assaulted you. house. Before signing a separation agreement. Sometimes the judge may order “specified access. and dividing up your property.” which means that the father can only see the children when someone else is there.Ending the relationship Access Access is the legal term for the children’s right to see the parent who does not have custody. A judge may decide that the father can see the children. such as the car. The judge may also order “supervised access. custody and access. get legal advice separately from your ex-partner. You can ask for restrictions or conditions on the father’s access. 39 .

in English only (turn to the back of this booklet for the Society’s address).For more information. see the booklets If Your Marriage Breaks Up and Living CommonLaw — available from the Legal Services Society. 40 .

your victim service worker. others are listed in the blue or white pages. Aboriginal I Band social development offices I Native child and family workers I Native courtworkers I Native justice workers I Native friendship centres I Tribal council offices Children I Helpline for Children: Call 0 and ask for Zenith 1234 I Transition houses Gay & Lesbian I Gay and lesbian information line: Call 1-800-566-1170 Legal I Dial-A-Law 41 .” which lists some of the organizations shown below. If you have trouble finding phone numbers for the organizations listed below. or call or visit your local library for help. Who can help In your community In the front pages of your phone book you will find a section called “Community Services.8. talk to your advocate.

C. If you have a disability.C. call (604) 528-8769 I Crisis centres I Transition houses I Women’s centres The Victim Information Line (B. Tel phone book for emergency numbers in your community. Tel Message Relay Centre at 711 (for TTY users with hearing or speech disabilities) or call 1-800-855-0511 (voice activated).C. confidential service.C. call the 24-hour B.C. This is a free. They can also give you information about the B. Tel Project Safety: For emergency phone hook-ups. If it’s an emergency Check inside the front cover of your B. 42 . Protection Order Registry) 1-800-563-0808 The operators will talk to you about your problem and refer you to a service or contact in your community.I Family justice counsellors I Family Maintenance Enforcement Program I Lawyer Referral Service I Legal Services Society (legal aid) Newcomers to Canada I Immigrant service agencies I Multicultural agencies Safety I B. Protection Order Registry and any orders you have registered.

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laws. We also gratefully acknowledge Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) for the use of information from their booklet Do You Know a Woman Who Is Being Abused?: A legal rights handbook.Services for . and government policy developers who are concerned about violence against women in relationships. Wife abuse . government agencies.British Columbia. .23. but copying for other purposes.C3S64 1998 362. and LSS.82’92’09711 C99-960005-2 . 3. service providers. Legal Services Society This publication may not be reproduced commercially. HV6626. They represent a wide variety of community groups. is encouraged. Legal assistance to abused wives . It was funded by the Ministry of Attorney General. While they are too numerous to list here. ISBN 0-7726-3735-0 1. I. 4.British Columbia. Editing: Anne Rose Graphic design: Mo Sa’lemy Revision: Pat Feindel Project co-ordination: Daphne Morrison (English/alternate formats) Eduardo Aragon (translations) Publishing co-ordinator: Candice Lee Many people have contributed to the development of this booklet and earlier versions of it.Legal status. Public Legal Education Program. their contributions are greatly appreciated.Popular works. This booklet is a publication of the Public Legal Education Program and was produced by the Publishing Program of the Legal Services Society (LSS). legal services. Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data Main entry under title: Speaking of abuse: violence against women in relationships Co-published by Justice Institute of British Columbia. Justice Institute of British Columbia. Victim Services Division. Community Justice Branch. Abused women . with credit.© 1998 Justice Institute of B.C..British Columbia . 1997. Abused wives .British Columbia. etc. 2.