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The Various Terms for Family Violence in Canada

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Family violence is any type of neglect or abuse experienced by an adult or child at the hands of another family member or a person with whom the abused has an intimate relationship. The abuse does not have to be physical. It can be emotional or financial, as well. Overall, it is an attempt by one person to exercise power over another by hurting or controlling them. The abuse often goes unreported because the abuser preys on an individual who depends on them for life’s necessities or monetary support.

Family violence is referred to by different terms by those who think the verbiage is interchangeable, which it is not. The various terms used to address family violence have connotations that are somewhat different:

  • Domestic violence may refer to family violence, but it can also mean intimate partner violence.
  • Intimate partner violence refers to sexual, physical, or mental abuse by one spouse or partner (current or former) against another spouse or partner.
  • Dating violence has the same meaning as intimate partner violence, however the couple was never married.
  • Elder abuse is often referred to simply as neglect.
  • Also under the umbrella of family violence is child abuse, often called child neglect or maltreatment.

Facing criminal charges of domestic assault or involving family violence can permanently damage your relationship with friends, colleagues and, most importantly, other family members. If you hope to salvage any of those connections, work with a domestic assault defence lawyer as soon as the charges are filed.

The government of Canada shows that it takes family violence very seriously. It introduced Bill C-75 last year, which introduces changes to the existing laws that govern domestic violence.

Bill C-75 proposes that a person charged with a crime involving family violence will have to justify why he or she should not be held in custody if he or she has a prior record or related offenses. The reason the bill was introduced is the propensity of domestic violence offenders to breach bail. Bill C-75 sets out that offenders will have to establish they deserve to have bail set in the first place. Bill C-75 will likely be declared valid law sometime in 2019.

Domestic Assault Defence Lawyers in Ontario

It goes without saying that domestic assault offences should never be committed. Many of those charged are guilty. However, there are circumstances in which people have been falsely accused and are in fact innocent.

It is not an uncommon practice for a jilted spouse, ex-lover, or someone else to fabricate charges in an attempt to seek retribution against a spouse or partner. The false charges can be a result of jealousy, resentment, a feeling of being treated unfairly or other motives to lie. It is also not uncommon for one party to falsely charge another as they try to gain leverage in a child custody or divorce case.

Once the charges are filed, the alleged victim is generally not allowed to simply drop the charges. The crown attorney has a clear mandate and directives from the attorney general to vigorously prosecute domestic assault charges even when the alleged victim does not want to proceed. So, all accusations, even ones that are unfounded, must be treated with the utmost seriousness.

Domestic and family violence laws in Canada are enforced strictly. Law enforcement is quick to arrest someone with little substantive investigation. It does not take much more than an accusation of domestic abuse for charges to be filed. It is best to keep in mind that, once the police are called to a scene that potentially involves family violence, someone is generally going to be arrested and charged with a crime on the spot.

Given the scope of the consequences of domestic assault, call toll free at 1 +1-800-699-0806 to speak with one of the knowledgeable criminal lawyers at Kruse Law or schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case.

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