Department of Justice

Domestic Violence

Dealing with Different Crimes

Victim Services

What happens to the abusive person

In a domestic violence situation, if the police get involved and there is enough evidence that you have been physically assaulted—which is a crime—the police must lay charges. You don’t decide if a charge is laid, the police do.

When an abusive person is arrested

If the police charge someone, they will usually arrest and remove them from the house. The police may hold the abusive person overnight.

The accused may be charged and released until a scheduled court appearance at a later date. They may have to sign an promise to appear before they are released. The promise to appear requires the accused to appear in court on a set date.

The accused might be taken into custody and not released unless granted bail at a bail hearing. If there is a bail hearing the victim may be required to testify.

Conditions of release

For domestic violence cases, a promise to appear or a bail order usually includes conditions that say an abusive person cannot contact you and that they are to stay away from your home. This is called a no contact order.

You can ask the police to let you know when the person is being released and if there are any conditions of his release. The RCMP will tell you what those conditions are

It is illegal for the accused to violate the promise to appear or bail order. If they break any of the conditions, report it to the RCMP.

There are also other protective orders that you may get put in place. Victim Services can help you understand your options.

Going to Court

If an individual is charged with spousal assault, he or she will usually make their first court  appearance in the Domestic Violence Treatment Option (DVTO) Court. DVTO provides assessment, counselling, support, and supervision of people charged with domestic violence. 

If the abuser takes responsibility and pleads guilty, normally they can get involved in DVTO.  

If they don’t take responsibility for their actions, or don’t want to get involved in DVTO, they will be involved in the regular court process.

Treatment options

People who are abusive can get help if they want to make the choice to stop their abusive behaviour.

They can get help through Offender Services (probation) and through DTVO. They might also choose to get private counselling from other services.