Domestic Assault Charges

There is no specific offence of ‘domestic assault’ in Canada. Furthermore, Ontario is one of four provinces that have yet to pass civil legislation regarding family violence to complement the Criminal Code.  However, most acts of violence against family members or partners are considered criminal acts in Canada and are treated quite seriously.

    • A ‘domestic’ relationship can be between a husband and wife, sexual partners, parents and their children, and even between siblings.
    • When domestic/family violence charges are laid, most release orders will contain a ‘no contact’ condition until at least the trial. In other circumstances, courts may order that the accused enter into a peace bond, and promise to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.  Specialized ‘Domestic Violence Courts’ often deal with such charges.
    • When someone is charged with a domestic assault, a common program that is offered by the courts is known as the ‘Partner Assault Response’ (PARS) program. It is essentially a series of community-based sessions for individuals who are facing such charges, which seeks to educate them on domestic violence and relationships.  While the PARS program does not always require that the accused admit to any wrongdoing, it may not be in your best interest to participate.

Domestic Assault Charges Sentencing

In the case of sentencing, Section 718.2 of the Criminal Code states that an assault against a domestic partner is an aggravating factor, which could lead to a more serious sentence.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is also mentioned in Sections 267-268 of the Criminal Code. Thus, when it comes to charges of Assault with a Weapon, Assault Causing Bodily Harm or Aggravated Assault, if the complainant is an intimate partner of the accused, then that will similarly serve as an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing.

Depending on the form of the assault, and the manner in which the Crown decides to proceed, a sentence for a domestic assault could be less than two years, or as long as 14 years.

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