Domestic Violence

In Canada, domestic violence is taken very seriously, and there are specific laws in place to address it.
The primary criminal law related to domestic violence in Canada is found in the Criminal Code.


Under the Criminal Code, several offenses can apply to domestic violence situations, including assault, assault causing bodily harm, and aggravated assault. Assault occurs when a person intentionally applies force to another person without their consent. Assault causing bodily harm involves causing more than minor injuries, while aggravated assault involves causing serious harm or endangering someone’s life.


Apart from assault offenses, there are other criminal offenses that may apply in cases of domestic violence. For example, uttering threats, sexual assault, criminal harassment, and confinement may also be charged depending on the circumstances.

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The Canadian legal system recognizes the unique dynamics of domestic violence, and there are specific provisions in the law that enhance the penalties for domestic violence offenses. For instance, if the victim is a current or former spouse, common-law partner, or intimate partner, the court can consider this as an aggravating factor in sentencing.

In addition to criminal charges, a victim of domestic violence in Canada can seek protection through civil remedies such as obtaining a restraining order, applying for a peace bond, or seeking a protection order under provincial or territorial legislation.

While there is no specific “domestic violence court” per se, many provinces and territories have established specialized courts or specialized programs within existing courts to handle domestic violence cases. These specialized courts aim to address the unique complexities and dynamics of domestic violence cases in order to provide better support to victims and hold offenders accountable.

These specialized courts may be known by various names, such as domestic violence courts, integrated domestic violence courts, or specialized domestic violence units. The specific structure and processes of these courts can vary across jurisdictions, but they generally have a multidisciplinary approach involving judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, victim services, and community organizations working together to provide a coordinated response to domestic violence cases.

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The goals of domestic violence courts in Canada typically include ensuring victim safety, holding offenders accountable, providing support services to victims, and addressing the underlying causes of domestic violence. These courts often employ measures like risk assessment tools, dedicated court dockets, coordinated case management, specialized training for justice professionals, and access to support services for victims.

The establishment and operation of specialized courts or programs dealing with domestic violence may vary by province or territory. Therefore, it is recommended to consult local legal resources or reach out to local law enforcement, victim services, or legal aid organizations for more specific information on the availability and structure of domestic violence courts in a particular jurisdiction within Canada.

It’s important to note that laws and regulations can change over time, so it’s always advisable to consult the most up-to-date legal resources or consult with a legal professional for accurate and current information on domestic violence laws in Canada.

If you need an experienced domestic violence lawyer in Canada, please contact our office for a free consultation.

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