Canadian Family Violence Laws.

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Canadian Family Violence Laws


Canadian Family Violence Laws - Topics on this page:

Canadian Family Violence Laws - Common Types of Family Violence


Canadian Family Violence Laws - Possible Legal Charges for Family Violence Offences

The Criminal Code does not have a specific "family violence offence". However, an abuser can be charged under the Criminal Code as follows:


Canadian Family Violence Laws - How widespread is family violence?

A great deal of family violence is not reported. The following figures, therefore are no doubt much higher (Note: Source of Data):

(Note: Source of Data):


Canadian Family Violence Laws - Spousal Abuse

"Spousal abuse" is the violence or mistreatment that a woman or a man experiences at the hands of a marital, common-law or same-sex partner. There are many different forms of spousal abuse:


Canadian Family Violence Laws - Penalties & Help Available for Spousal Abuse

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 made to the Criminal Code to strengthen the laws related to spousal abuse.

Charges will be laid in all spousal abuse cases where reasonable grounds to charge exist. Crown prosecutors are required to prosecute in all spousal abuse cases where a reasonable likelihood of conviction exists.

Some provinces have set up dedicated domestic violence courts, victim/witness assistance programs, and mandatory counselling for offenders.


Canadian Family Violence Laws - Child Abuse

Child abuse is the violence, mistreatment or neglect that a child or adolescent may experience while in the care of someone they either trust or depend on, such as a parent, sibling, other relative, caregiver or guardian. There are many different forms of abuse:

Canadian Family Violence Laws - Spanking Laws

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling handed down on January 30, 2004 upholds the "spanking laws" in Canada, but for the first time, the high court has issued guidelines that say spanking teenagers or children under age 2, hitting a child in the head, or using objects like belts or rulers are actions that go too far.

In a deeply split 6-3 decision, the court ruled yesterday the so-called "spanking" defence in Canadian law does not protect or excuse "outbursts of violence against a child motivated by anger or animated by frustration."

Still, parents, their stand-in caregivers, and teachers may use reasonable force if it is for "educative or corrective purposes," Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote for the majority.

"The reality is," wrote McLachlin, that without such a defence, Canada's "broad assault law would criminalize force falling far short of what we think of as corporal punishment, like placing an unwilling child in a chair for a five-minute "time-out."


Canadian Family Violence Laws - Penalties and Help Available for Child Abuse

Child welfare laws require that all cases of suspected child abuse must be investigated to determine if a child is in need of protection. If a child is determined to be in need of protection, the child welfare authorities are able to:

Since the 1960s, significant steps have been taken to address child abuse in Canada such as:


Canadian Family Violence Laws - Stalking - Criminal Harassment

Stalking is dealt with under the criminal harassment provisions of section 264 of Canada's Criminal Code. This section of the Criminal Code was passed in 1993 in order to make it easier for the police to charge stalkers.

The Code states that no person shall, without lawful authority:

Under the Criminal Code, you can get a restraining order or a peace bond against a person who is stalking. The punishment for stalking can be a ten year jail term.


Canadian Family Violence Laws - Dating Violence

Dating violence is a serious problem in Canada.

Between 16% (Note: 1) and 35% (Note: 2) of women surveyed say they have experienced at least one physical assault by a male dating partner. Roberts (Note: 3) found that 37% of Canadian women had experienced at least one sexual assault since the age of 16.

(Note: 1) Rodgers, K. "Wife Assault: The Findings of a National Survey," Juristat: Service Bulletin. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (1994): vol. 14, no. 9: p.3.

(Note: 2) Kelly, K. and W. DeKeseredy. "The Incidence and Prevalence of Woman Abuse in Canadian University and College Dating Relationships," Journal of Human Justice. (1993): vol. 4, no. 2: pp.25-52.

(Note: 3) Roberts, J. "Criminal Justice Processing of Sexual Assault Cases," Juristat: Service Bulletin. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (1994): vol. 14, no. 7: p.1.


Canadian Family Violence Laws - Elder Abuse

Elder abuse may be defined as "any act of commission or omission that results in harm to an elderly person". The Department of National Health and Welfare has categorized abuse and neglect as follows:

Studies of elder abuse have reported prevalence rates from 1% to 4%. However, estimates as high as 10% have been claimed. Of a random sample of staff from a New Hampshire nursing home, 36% reported witnessing physical abuse in the preceding year, while psychological abuse had been witnessed by 81%.

Risk factors for abuse in the victim include:

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