Domestic Assault, found in Section 265 and 266 of the Canadian Criminal Code, is not distinct from normal assault charges. Domestic assault trials are unique in that they involve two people who shared an emotional bond at some point in their relationship. Note that under Canadian law, parties need not be married for the case to qualify as domestic assault. The two could be a girlfriend and a boyfriend, a same-sex couple, or even a couple that has since ended its relationship.
Domestic violence is what happens when an assault occurs between two people who are in a domestic relationship. This relationship is broadly defined, and could potentially include a member of one’s immediate or extended family, someone whom an individual is in a dating or ongoing relationship with, or a household member.
Domestic violence is a blanket term that describes threats or violent acts such as punching, shoving or kicking between two people who are related or who are involved in an intimate relationship with one another. Many provinces use the terms domestic violence and domestic assault interchangeably. However, it’s important for anyone who is involved in this type of situation to understand the specific laws in their province.
Assault is defined in the Criminal Code in the following two ways:
Domestic battery is a crime under the umbrella of domestic violence. It is also called “spousal battery.” Battery is a criminal charge when violence and force are used against someone or it is attempted against someone. You do not have to actually be hurt for the guilty person to be charged with battery. You can think of domestic battery being the specific charge someone is guilty of, but it is all within a domestic violence case.
Many forms of abuse are included in the definition of domestic violence:
Physical Abuse: It involves the use of physical force against another. Examples include hitting, shoving, grabbing, biting, restraining, shaking, choking, burning, forcing drug/alcohol use, and assault with a weapon, etc. Physical violence may or may not result in an injury that requires medical attention.
Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is a difficult aspect of domestic violence, both to discuss and, at times, identify. Women are expected to endure a tremendous amount of sexual violence in their lives, and many will have difficulty identifying sexual abuse as abuse. Sexual violence is used by abusers in the same way that physical violence is used: to establish control.
Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse is a way to control another person by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, or otherwise manipulate another person. In general, a relationship is emotionally abusive when there is a consistent pattern of abusive words and bullying behaviors that wear down a person’s self-esteem and undermine their mental health.
Economic Abuse : Domestic abuse takes many forms. Some abusers repeatedly dictate their partner’s choices and control their everyday actions, becoming violent or threatening to become violent if their demands are refused. An abuser may restrict how their partner acquires, uses and maintains money and economic resources, such as accommodation, food, clothing and transportation. This behaviour is known as economic abuse.
Men, women and children can all be victims of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse occurs amongst people of all ethnicities, sexualities, ages, disabilities, immigration status, religions or beliefs, and socio-economic backgrounds. The CPS recognises domestic abuse differs in severity between incidents, and more often than not, will increase in frequency and seriousness, having a cumulative impact on the victim/complainant.
The definition includes so-called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.
In Canada, the penalties for domestic assault depend upon the circumstances of each case and can range from a peace bond to jail time. If the Crown is proceeding by summary conviction (less serious offences), the offender may be required to pay restitution to the wronged party or pay for property damage or medical bills. If the crime does not warrant a jail sentence, the offender may receive a suspended sentence (i.e. remain under probation) or conditional sentence (i.e. house arrest).
It is an assault if the defendant is accused of stabbing, hitting, kicking, punching, pushing, stalking, threatening death, throwing objects or causing bodily harm of any kind. Domestic assault cases are a priority for police and prosecutors in Mississauga and have been declared a “zero-tolerance” crime by both federal and provincial governments.
Domestic assaults are taken more seriously than other forms of assault. It is a lot more difficult for someone to escape a criminal conviction from domestic violence charge than a regular assault. Prosecutors are more reluctant to drop the charges in a domestic situation. When sentencing a person for an offence in a domestic assault case, the law says the courts are to consider the domestic setting as fact that makes the offence worse.
If you are found guilty of a domestic assault you can be sentenced to up to five years in jail.
In some ways, the defense strategies are similar for these cases and deal with self-defense, denial of the event, or mistaken identity. With a domestic violence charge, a defendant has to deal with the division of property, who has the right to live at the house, and who has the right to be with the kids under certain circumstances. A criminal lawyer who knows the difference between domestic violence and assault will help a defendant through these difficulties with his or her representation and knowledge.
The very first step of bringing client onboard is to have a no obligation consultation.
Then comes the evaluation of the situation. And building the case background.
After building the whole case, now is the time to fight it in the court.
As we fight the case, we keep on collecting more information to support the case.