What if my abusive partner is charged with a crime?

3. Find out if early intervention is offered

Before the case goes to trial, your partner might plead guilty so that a trial is no longer needed. Or, your partner's lawyer and the might agree on what is going to happen in the case. This is sometimes called a “plea bargain”.

Most courts also have a special program called early intervention. It is offered as a way to resolve a partner abuse case without going to trial. It helps first-time offenders resolve their case quickly, by either pleading guilty or entering into a . To qualify, they must be a first-time offender and cannot have caused significant injuries or used a weapon during the assault.

Ask the Victim/Witness Assistance Program if your partner has got into the early intervention program. If they are in the program, they may have new conditions that they need to follow.

If your partner had conditions they had to follow after being released by the police or the courts, these usually end when the case is over. You should try and keep track of your partner's case so that you know if their conditions are over and if there are different conditions that your partner needs to follow afterwards.

The Partner Assault Response program

As part of early intervention, the offender must be willing to take a 12-session Partner Assault Response (PAR) program. The PAR program holds them responsible for their actions. It also helps them learn to resolve conflict in non-violent ways. The PAR program is part of the Domestic Violence Court system.

This program is run by different community agencies in different parts of Ontario. Some PAR programs are aimed at special communities. For example, there are some PAR programs for Indigenous people, people in same-sex relationships, or people who speak a certain language.

The PAR program also supports victims. If your partner goes to the PAR program, Partner Outreach staff from the program lets you know. They ask you about your safety and tell you about possible services and supports. The staff tells you what is taught in the PAR program.

Usually your partner isn't allowed to live at home as a condition of their release. But in some cases, if you agree, your partner may be able to return home during the program. You must provide your consent, which you can take away at any time and for any reason.

There are other anger management or “PAR-like” programs available that are not funded by the government. These programs do not have to follow the same guidelines and may not offer victims the type of support PAR programs do. Anger management programs also have a different focus and purpose than PAR programs. They deal with all anger issues, not only domestic violence.

You can find your local PAR program provider through the Victim Services Directory.

Offenders can also enter a PAR program as part of their .

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