5. Find out about the sentence

What if my abusive partner is charged with a crime?
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5. Find out about the sentence

If your partner is found guilty, the sentence they get depends on how serious the crime was. It also depends on other things, such as whether they have a previous criminal record.

Before your partner is sentenced, you can tell the judge about the effect their violence has had on you and your family. You can do this by preparing a victim impact statement. This is a statement where you tell the court about how you feel about the crime and how it has affected you.

Both the police and VWAP staff can help you prepare this statement. They can also advise you about the best time to complete it. The Crown Attorney must give it to your partner's lawyer. You can be asked about it, although this is not very likely. But you should know that your statement could be used in any family court case that happens after the criminal trial.

If your partner had conditions of release, these usually end when the case is over. You should try and keep track of your partner's case so you know if their conditions are over and if there are different conditions that your partner needs to follow as part of their sentence.

You can find out your partner's sentence by contacting the Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff, the Crown Attorney, or the court staff.

Some possible sentences include:

  • going to jail for a certain amount of time
  • serving a "conditional sentence", which is a jail sentence served in the community with strict conditions
  • paying "restitution", which is money your partner pays you for the costs of your property that they lost or damaged, or related to your personal injury

Probation

A judge can order that your partner obey specific conditions for a certain period of time as part of their sentence. This is called probation. Many sentences include probation.

Probation can be ordered after your partner gets out of jail. Or, it can be ordered right away if the sentence does not include jail time.

The conditions can require that your partner:

  • not contact you directly, or through someone else
  • only contact you if you give your consent in writing to their probation officer - you can take away this consent at any time
  • not come within a certain distance (for example, 100 metres) of your home, workplace, or any place that they know you are at
  • only contact you and the children as said in a family court order
  • support you or your children financially
  • report to a probation officer regularly
  • not use alcohol or drugs
  • go to, and actively take part in, treatment or counselling for substance abuse, partner abuse, or anger management
  • not have a gun or any kind of weapon

You can get a copy of your partner's probation order through the Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff, the Crown Attorney, or the court staff.

If you also have a family court case, you need to tell your family law lawyer or the family court about any conditions of probation. Your family court order may need to be changed because of the conditions of probation.

You May Also Need

Ontario Women's Justice Network (This resource is written for women in abusive relationships but might help anyone in an abusive relationship.)
Reviewed: August 31, 2017

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