If you call 911, the police have the legal right to enter your home. They can do this even if you tell them that you don't want them to, or that you have changed your mind.
The police decide what happens if someone calls them about your partner's abuse. You do not decide.
The police talk to you and your partner, and might talk to anyone else who is home. They also look at what they see in your home.
You can tell the police:
- you want to talk to them privately
- exactly what happened, and whether you were assaulted, threatened, or suffered any other form of abuse
- if the abuse has happened before
- if any weapons were used, and whether there are other weapons in your home
- if there are children or others who need help
- if anybody saw or heard the incident or assault
- if you don't feel safe
The police use this information to fill out an occurrence report. This report is a police summary of what happened. It has details such as what you and your partner told them, and what the police saw. The police fill out a report whether or not they decide to charge you, your partner, or both of you with a crime.
You can ask the police:
- for the information in the occurrence report, including the occurrence or incident number
- to take pictures of your injuries
- to help you leave, or to take you to a shelter
- to give you their names and badge numbers
- to contact Victim Crisis Assistance Ontario for support and help addressing your safety concerns
Charging someone with a crime
The police decide:
- whether to charge you, your partner, or both of you
- what crimes to charge you with
If the police think that there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that you, your partner, or both of you committed a crime, they must charge you.
The police may charge your partner. If that happens, the police should give you information about services for victims of partner abuse so you can get some support after the police leave your home.
There is always a chance that you might be charged, even if you are the abused partner. If you're charged, you will probably have to go to the police station. You may not be allowed home until there is a bail hearing, or even until the after the criminal process is over.
Concerns about children
The police must call a Children's Aid Society if they think any children under 16 years old have been harmed or are at risk of being harmed. If the child is 16 or 17 years old, the police can call Children’s Aid but they don’t have to.
Children's Aid Societies (CAS) have a legal duty to make sure that children under 18 years old are protected from harm. The government has given them this job.
Child abuse includes physical, sexual, and emotional harm. Emotional harm may happen when a child watches someone in their home being abused. It also includes situations where a child’s basic needs for things like food, shelter, sleep, or clothing are not being met. This is called neglect.