What You Need to Know About Domestic Assault

Domestic assault is considered a serious criminal offence throughout Canada. While it is a form of assault, Canadian Laws have defined the charge as its own specific offence since it involves assault on a family member, relative or other close relation by the accused. The law distinguishes between normal assault offences and domestic assault offences by examining whether the assault was committed in the context of a preexisting relationship between the person being charged and the victim. If the police and Crown establish such a relationship, then the person is charged with a domestic offence.

Even though domestic assaults are essentially the same criminal offences as normal assaults, the Ottawa courts treat them differently due to the trust created through close, personal relationships. In addition, the person charged with domestic assault can have their life turned upside down since the Crown normally imposes specific terms and conditions as part of the conditions for bail. This could involve not having contact with the accused person’s spouse, partner, or even their children.

One of the main concerns with domestic assault is when someone in a relationship uses it as a means to address other domestic issues and problems. For instance, a couple might be verbally arguing and one person gets so upset they call the police and claim they were assaulted by the other person. At this point, the police are required to conduct a full investigation into the claim. In the event the accused did, in fact, commit any form of assault, they can be charged by the Crown.

Keep in mind domestic assault is the intentional use of force or threat of force against the victim without their consent. If the accused simply verbally threatened to use force on the victim, without their consent, the police and Crown can charge the person with a form of domestic assault called uttering threats. This is also a very serious criminal offence. Uttering threats is making threats against the person, their property or their pets. Threats can be verbal, text messages, or emails.

Even if the complainant later changes their mind, they do not have the luxury of dropping the charges. Once a claim has been filed with the police and the Crown has determined there are grounds for a domestic assault offence, the Crown will proceed with prosecuting the accused.

Further, the complainant does not have to be the person being assaulted. A neighbour, relative, or close friend has the right to contact the police and report suspected domestic assault. Domestic assault is a serious criminal offence which can drastically impact a person’s life. If you have been charged with domestic assault, you need to obtain experienced legal representation from Ottawa criminal lawyer, Céline Dostaler. Call 613-695-8595 today for a complimentary case evaluation.