While there is no specific offence of family violence listed in the Canadian Criminal Code, acts of family violence are crimes in Canada. If you are convicted of a crime and it is determined that the crime you were engaged in was against a family member, then the sentencing provisions of  Section 718.2 of the  Criminal Code, designate it an “aggravating factor” for sentencing purposes when the offence involves abuse of a spouse or common-law partner, abuse of a person under the age of 18 or abuse of a position of trust or authority.

The Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services has studied domestic or family violence and has determined some illuminating facts. For example, researchers found that spousal violence has been consistently identified as one of the most common forms of violence against women in Canada.

Domestic or family violence can be broken down into four basic types.

Physical Assault

This type of unwanted physical touching includes shoving, pushing, restraining, hitting, or kicking. While physical assaults may occur frequently or infrequently, in many cases, they usually escalate in severity and frequency over time.

Under the Criminal Code, assaults are more serious if certain conditions also exist. For example, if during the course of the physical assault the perpetrator is wielding a deadly weapon, then the potential sentence increases. An aggravated assault occurs where a victim is wounded, maimed, disfigured or their life is endangered. The maximum jail term for aggravated assault is 14 years in jail.

Sexual Assault

Any time one partner forces sexual acts that are unwanted or declined by the other partner (i.e. where the victim does not consent), then a sexual assault has occurred. Specifically, section 271 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines sexual assault as any touching of another person without consent where the touching is of a sexual nature, or where the sexual integrity of the alleged victim is violated.

Psychological Assault

While not indicative of physical injuries, psychological assault includes isolation from family and friends, forced financial dependence, verbal and emotional abuse, threats, intimidation, and control over where the partner can go and what they can do.

Some results of psychological assault are codified as criminal offences in Canada.  These types of offences include criminal harassment or stalking, uttering threats, making indecent and harassing phone calls, or trespassing at night.

Attacks Against Property and Pets

Trans passive violence that focuses on the destruction of property such as household objects or treasured items belonging to the victim or abusing or killing beloved pets are key markers of a combination of both physical and psychological assault.  A perpetrator could be charged with mischief or cruelty to an animal for these types of acts.

Have You Been Accused of Any of These Types of Assault?

If you have a pending criminal charge and are seeking additional information about the possible outcomes of your case, contact us today.

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