1. Learn about private prosecutions
Question & AnswerWhat is a private prosecution and how do I apply for one?
If you believe that someone committed a crime and the police decide not to lay charges after an investigation, or choose not to investigate at all, you can apply for a . In a private prosecution, an individual asks the court to the person they believe committed a crime.
Who can apply for a private prosecution
To apply for a private prosecution:
- both you and the person who you believe committed the crime must live in Ontario,
- the crime must have happened in Ontario, and
- the police did not lay charges for the crime.
You must also have to believe that someone committed a crime. This means that your belief is based on something more than a feeling or suspicion. Your belief must be supported by , for example video, text messages, or witnesses.
You should speak to a lawyer if:
- you're the victim of a crime that happened outside Ontario
- the police investigated but decided not to charge the person with a crime
You can also make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director if you don't think the police did the right thing. But it's a good idea to talk to a lawyer before you make a complaint. Read more in How do I make a complaint about the police?
Crimes involving gender-based violence
CLEO's Guided Pathway for Private Prosecutions can help you decide if you want to apply for a private prosecution for a crime involving gender-based violence.
Guided Pathway for applying for a private prosecution
Use this tool to learn about or apply for a private prosecution for certain crimes involving gender-based violence.
Crimes involving gender-based violence are crimes committed against someone because of their gender.
Gender identity is your internal and individual experience of yourself that can include being a woman, a man, both, neither, or something else. Your gender identity might be the same as the one you were assigned at birth or it might be different.
Crimes involving gender-based violence are sometimes committed against an intimate partner, either during the relationship or after it ends. But not all crimes involving gender-based violence are committed against current or former partners. For example, they can be committed against friends or co-workers, or strangers.
Anyone can be the victim of a crime involving gender-based violence but girls, women, and gender-diverse people are more likely to experience this kind of crime.
Gender-based crimes are offences under the Criminal Code. Crimes involving gender-based violence include:
- physical violence, such as and
- psychological violence, such as offences that involve controlling or manipulative behaviour
These are some of the most common crimes involving gender-based violence:
- publication of an without consent
- sexual assault
- failing to comply with a or condition
Some other examples are: