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Reporting Abuse - What To Expect

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3037854 Certain categories of abuse, such as assault, sexual assault and criminal harassment (stalking) are crimes under the Criminal Code of Canada. In recent years a series of amendments have been added to strengthen the laws related to woman abuse.

No one is required to tell the police about domestic violence, if the victim is an adult. Often women don’t want police involved. They may be concerned about being deported or having their children taken away. They may be afraid that their partner will become more violent if police are involved. Whether or not you call the police should be your decision. If you do, you should know that:

  • Ontario has a mandatory charging policy which means that police, not you, will decide whether or not to lay charges against your partner. In some cases, if you have hit him back (or he says you have) the police may even charge you.
  • The police may report either of you to Immigration if they believe your status in Canada is not permanent or you are without status.
  • If you have children, the police will file a report with Children’s Aid Society, who will then decide whether to investigate the well-being of your children. Professionals have a duty to report any suspicions of child abuse. Should child protection workers become involved with your family, they can offer referral and resources to support you as well that can increase your safety and that of your children.
  • Crown prosecutors are required to prosecute in all spousal abuse cases where a reasonable likelihood of conviction exists. It’s important if you are being abused to document the episodes as well as record any witnesses. This may be used as evidence.