Domestic Violence: What Are Your Options?
Updated: Sep 21, 2020
Regardless of your gender, anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Violence can have lasting harmful effects on victims and have a tragic impact on children. Domestic violence goes beyond just the physical use of violence to include psychological, emotional and financial abuse.
If you or your children are experiencing domestic violence in your home, speak to a lawyer when it is safe to do so to learn what you can do to protect yourself and your children. In the alternative, you can also speak to your doctor, community information centre or community health centre. The remainder of this article will detail some of the remedies and resources available to victims of domestic violence.
The Assaulted Women’s Helpline is a toll-free crisis telephone service operating province-wide 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained counsellors can help you determine your options, provide information about local supports such as shelters and sexual assault centres and help you develop an immediate safety plan. You can contact them by telephone at 416.533.8538 or 416.533.3736, by text at 647.370.8300, or by live chat at iDetermine.ca
If your spouse or partner previously abused you and is now in jail, you can call the Victim Support Line by telephone at 1-888-579-2888 and register with the Victim Notification System to get information about the abuser’s release date.
Ontario’s child protection laws protect children against physical, sexual and emotional harm. If your child is a victim of abuse by the a parent, you may ask the court to deny that parent access or allow access only if it is supervised.
If you are fearful that your partner or your former partner will hurt you or your children, you can ask the family law court to make a restraining order. A restraining order will list conditions that the person you are afraid of must obey. The restraining order can range from more general terms to more specific conditions. If the person who has a restraining order against them disobeys a restraining order, the police can arrest them and charge them with breaching the restraining order.
Exclusive Possession of the Family Home
If you are married, you may ask the court for the right to live in your home and to make your spouse leave. This is known as exclusive possession of the matrimonial home. Even if the home is in your partner’s name, you have an equal right to stay there.
If you are not married, you may also ask the court to stay in the home you shared when you lived together, as part of a support order for you or your child. The judge can order this even if you do not own the home or if your name is not on the lease. If the judge agrees to an exclusive possession order, your spouse or partner must move out.
DISCLAIMER: The blog sets out a variety of materials relating to the law to be used for educational and non-commercial purposes only; the author(s) of the blog do not intend the blog to be a source of legal advice. Please retain and seek the advice of a lawyer and use your own good judgement before choosing to act on any information included in the blog.