1. Learn about private prosecutions

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 Law Enforcement Complaints Agency 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.

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
  • assault
  • sexual assault
  • failing to comply with a or condition

Some other examples are:

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