- Important Facts About Canadian Law
- Physical Abuse and the Law
- Sexual Abuse and the Law
- Psychological Abuse and the Law
- Financial Abuse and the Law
- Digital or Online Abuse and the Law
- Animal or Property Abuse and the Law
Important Facts About Canadian Law
There are some important things to know about Canadian law:
- You might see the word statute. This word means the same as a law.
- The law can sometimes be different depending on where you live. Some laws are for the entire country and these laws are called federal laws. Other laws are different in each province and are called provincial laws.
- There are two different types of law. There is criminal law and civil law and both types can apply to abusive relationships.
Physical Abuse and the Law
The laws in Canada do not permit physical abuse to take place. The Criminal Code of Canada describes the different offences that someone can be charged with for taking actions resulting in physical abuse. Depending on how much someone is hurt, physical abuse offences range from simple assault to attempted murder or manslaughter, or murder.
The criminal charges that might be laid depend on how and why an incident happened. The Criminal Code defines the offences. When charging a person with a crime, the police must ensure the abusive behaviour fits the definition of the crime. Charges might be:
- Assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm
- Aggravated assault
- Unlawfully causing bodily harm
- Criminal negligence
- Criminal negligence causing bodily harm
- Criminal negligence causing death
- Failure to provide necessaries of life
Sexual offences are also instances of physical harm and are dealt with in the Sexual Abuse section below.
Sexual Abuse and the Law
These are the criminal offences involving sexual abuse:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual assault with a weapon
- Sexual assault while threatening to harm someone else, for example, a child
- Sexual assault whilst causing bodily harm to the victim
- Aggravated sexual assault
There is no longer a criminal offence of “rape”. It is dealt with as a sexual assault. Sexual assault can occur between partners who are married.
Psychological Abuse and the Law
There is no specific crime of psychological abuse. The actions that make up psychological abuse may fit into the definition of some criminal offences. For example, certain aspects of the abuse may be covered in the offences of:
- Uttering threats
- Threatening to assault someone
- Sending false messages
- Criminal harassment
- Forced confinement
Financial Abuse and the Law
Criminal offences involving financial matters, such as theft, fraud or forgery could be difficult to prove in a situation involving married spouses or adult interdependent partners. However, there can be circumstances where what is occurring meets the legal criteria for specific offences. For example, stealing from a personal chequing account by forging a signature. You can always seek advice from the police or a lawyer to see if the economic abuse you are suffering is punishable by law.
The criminal offences listed below cover most financial abuse or property offences.
- Stealing and using credit card
Digital or Online Abuse and the Law
Abusers may use technology or social media to harass or control their partners. These actions are not against the law by themselves, but become criminal when forming a pattern of criminal harassment. It is important to keep emails, messages, texts and voicemails as evidence to show the pattern.
Animal or Property Abuse
The offence of uttering threats includes threats to kill or hurt an animal or bird belonging to a person being threatened. There are also various offences dealing with cruelty to animals. Damage to property may be covered by the offence of mischief.