LEGAL OPTIONS FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN BC
(Originally posted 22/11/2016) Domestic violence is NEVER right. Domestic violence includes any form of violence within a relationship (marriage, common law or dating) - sexual, emotional, verbal, financial, and psychological including threats and the use of a weapon of control and intimidation by a spouse, partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, or ex-spouse. Domestic violence can happen even after a relationship is over.
If you or someone you know is being abused, get help - do not wait. If you are in immediate danger call the police right away – 911. If your community does not have a 911 service, look for the local police emergency phone number on the first page of your phone book under Emergency. Although family violence is often directed by men at women, anyone can be an abuser, and no one deserves to be abused. It’s against the law for anyone to physically abuse, threaten, or harass another person, and a person who does these things to their partner (whether in a married relationship or an unmarried relationship) can be charged with assault. At Cates Ford Soll & Epp LLP, we understand that many victims experiencing relationship abuse are unsure of their legal rights when it comes to Family Law (divorce, child custody, and access) or immigration and sponsorship status. This can keep victims of domestic violence trapped in abusive relationships and fearful of reaching out for help. Knowing your legal rights will improve your ability to make choices to keep yourself and your children safe. While the police can help ensure you are safe, assess whether criminal charges are necessary, and connect you to community services include helping you find emergency shelter, the court system also has a role to play. If your partner is convicted of assaulting or threatening you, he or she would usually be ordered to pay a fine or will be placed on probation with conditions, such as not contacting you, or attending counselling or an anger management program. If you decide that the criminal court process is not the best way for you and your partner to deal with violence in your relationship. Crown Counsel may be willing to drop the criminal charge against your partner if he or she enters into a Peace Bond under section 810 of the Criminal Code. This involves your partner undertaking to keep the peace and obey certain conditions, and if your partner obeys the conditions, he or she won’t have a criminal record. If your partner doesn’t obey the conditions, he or she can be sent to trial on the original criminal charge plus a new charge for breaching the peace bond. Another option is to apply to the Provincial Court or to the Supreme Court for a protection order under the provincial Family Law Act. A protection order can:
restrain or restrict how your partner communicates with you;
restrain your partner from going to your home, school or place of employment;
restrain your partner from stalking you;
restrain your partner from possessing weapons;
require the police to remove your partner from the home;
require the police to escort your partner while your partner removes his or her personal property from the home;
require the police to seize your partner’s weapons; and
require your partner to report to the court.
The family law act requires the police to enforce protection orders. At Cates Ford Soll & Epp LLP, we understand family law is diverse, challenging, complicated, and touches on all legal issues that impact families, including the need for protection from domestic violence. Some of our lawyers are certified Family Law Mediators, and with our extensive courtroom experience, skills in negotiation and drafting out-of-court agreements, we are also able to guide former spouses, future spouses and other parties through the difficult negotiation process. With more than 36 years of experience in Kamloops, contact Cates Ford Soll & Epp LLP at 250-372-1234 for legal advice and assistance. Just as every family is unique, so too are the solutions to every family law problem.