Domestic Abuse...

What happens in Domestic abuse case when the victim & accused reconcile?

what would happen if they got married??

  • afrp0

They are frequently already married.

What sort of domestic abuse are you referring to?

the accused and victim are engaged,
they were in a fight resulting in a assault charges.

everytime they speak to any police officers,
the cops ask if they’ve reconciled.
this is for a friend of mine actually.

I take it that you are concerned with the law in Toronro.

If the police have laid a charge, the matter will be handed over to a Crown Attorney at the local court to decide which charges should go forward and which charges should be dropped. The decision to proceed lies entirely with the Crown Attorney. The victim has no say at all in whether or not a person is arrested, and no say at all in whether or not the charge proceeds.

There is a general policy in Ontario that if a charge is reasonably laid in a domestic violence matter, then it should be pursued rather than dropped even if the abused spouse wants the charge dropped. The reason for this is that abused spouses have a tendency to reconcile only to be further abused, and repeat this cycle a few times before permanently separating from their abusive spouse, for very often abused spouses are under great emotional and financial pressure to reconcile, rather than prosecute the abuser.

If an abused spouse wants the charges dropped, the abused spouse should first speak with his own lawyer (a criminal lawer with experience in both criminal and family law), and also the local court’s Victim / Witness Services office (in Toronto try 416-314-2447 or go through the phone book’s Attorney General number) which can go over the abused spouse’s options, and get the abused spouse in touch with the Crown Attorney who is prosecuting the matter. Sitting down and speaking with the Crown Attorney is usually the very best thing an abused person can do if the abused person would prefer that the charges be dropped, but I strongly recommend that this be done through the assistance of the abused spouse’s own lawyer, so as to help ensure that the abused spouse does not get into trouble for giving a false statement (e.g. “I know what I told the police is different, but I was upset at the time”), or by giving a statement that makes the Crown Attorney want to prosecute the abuser (e.g. “But I love him and don’t really mind that he sometimes gets out of control). Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) has a document that can be very helpful in explaining how the system works: . This documents is a wealth of resources for an abused person, ranging from counselling agencies to court procedure guides.

If the matter was really just a loud argument, if the parties were not in the pattern of having such disputes, if the parties are willing to get into counselling, and if there is no hint of the abused spouse being under duress of any sort, then the Crown might drop the charges, or more likely will try to cut a deal in which the accused pleads guilty (we only have guilty or not guilty up here) and both the Crown and the defence recommend to the Judge that the sentence be an absolute discharge, or a conditional discharge that is conditional on good behaviour over half a year or a year. For what a discharge means relative to having a criminal record, check out the John Howard Society: . The abused person should be prepared to have his victim impact statement presented to the Court, or better yet, should be willing to speak to the Judge in open court at the sentencing phase of the trial. From the abusing spouse’s end, something that should be considered when making a deal is whether or not the abusing spouse needs to travel outside Canada, for a criminal record, or a record of a conviction might stand in the way.

In summary, (1) the abused spouse should get a lawyer, (2) the abused spouse should get some counselling to help determine if it is in the abused spouse’s best interests to try to have the charges dropped, and (3) with the assistance of counsel for the abused person, the abused should have a heart to heart talk with the Crown Attorney.

Oftentimes, it’s out of the victim’s hands once charges are filed. The cops may just want to know if they’ll be responding to another 9-1-1 call in the near future…

We’ll need more info before we can give an accurate answer, though. Evidently, nobody is currently behind bars, but has a restraining order been issued? Is there a history of abuse for either party? It may even be important to know whether the man or the woman is the victim (I’m assuming a heterosexual relationship and that the woman is the victim, since those are the norms.)
ETA: Ah, Canada.

actually its a homosexual relationship, the ‘girl’ of the relationship is the victim.

either party involved does Not have any police records in which they were the accused.

Actually the accused was in a past abusive relationship, in which he was the victim.
It resulted in a ‘peace bond’.

Both parties are currently seeing therapists.
The accused is currently attending ‘anger management’ as police orders.

As far as the abusing spouse goes, he should also get a criminal lawyer with criminal and family law experience, who can steer him clear of the pitfalls encountered when speaking with police and when cutting deals.

The victim and the accused should not use the same lawyer.

OK, so much for how to go about getting out of the legal pickle, on the assumption that it really is what the abused spouse wants.

The more important issue is why in the world would a person maintain a relationship with an abusing spouse, and move from one abusing spouse to another? It is a common pattern, and it rarely ends well.

You know, being in domestic disputes that are severe enough to require police involvement is not something that happens with most couples. It is a big red flag.

In short, the abused spouse should seek counseling from a professional experienced in domestic abuse. This is important.

As far as marriage goes, given the unstable nature of the relationship each of the parties should get independent legal advice and consider making a pre-nup before they tie the knot, or before they live together for three years, or adopt a child together. In Ontario, property division upon spousal separation is treated very differently depending on whether the couple married or not. If one of them owns a home or ends up owning a home, it could get really bad should they marry and later separate. Support does not require the parties to have been married. I don’t mean to sound cynical, but the simple fact of the matter is that marriage is a contract with the terms of the contract set out in the Divorce Act, Family Law Act, and a few other acts. The parties should know what these terms are before singing up. If they want to change the terms, they can do a domestic contract (pre-nup).

As far as being married goes when trying to skate from charges arising out of a domestic dispute, it really makes no difference. Does marriage suggest an increased degree of mutual committment and respect, or does marriage suggest an increased degree power and control by the abusing spouse over the abused spouse?

Quite apart from the legal aspect, since the parties need to work on their relationship to avoid future abuse problems, and since a wedding would probably be more enjoyable once the criminal matter is concluded, why not postpone the wedding until the seas are calmer?

Um… isn’t this thread against the rules?

  1. So is junior modding. Just sayin’. :wink:
  2. Technically, no, it’s not a violation of the rule as written:

(Emphasis added.)

But moderators have discretion to close threads like this, especially when the OP is seems to be simply asking for legal advice for someone else, and I just closed a threadby this poster yesterday, based on the same fact pattern. I’ll close this one on the same basis.

  1. **Muffin **has done an admirable job helping the OP out here, and I think that’s probably sufficient.

Thread closed. No warnings issued.

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