My partner is abusing me, but what happens if the police charge me?

4. Ask about early intervention

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

If you had conditions that you had to follow after being released by the police or the court, these usually end when the case is over. But there may be different conditions that you need to follow as part of your .

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

The Partner Assault Response program

As part of early intervention, you must be willing to take a 12-session Partner Assault Response (PAR) program. The PAR program holds offenders 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 provides support to victims. If you go to the PAR program, Partner Outreach staff from the program will let your partner know. They will ask them about their safety and tell them about possible services and supports. The staff will also tell your partner what is being taught in the PAR program.

Usually you aren't allowed to live at home as a condition of your release. But in some cases, if your partner agrees, you may be able to return home during the program. Your partner must provide their consent, which they 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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