The police might bring criminal charges

How can I keep my abusive partner away from me after I leave?
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The police might bring criminal charges

If your partner is breaking the law, the police might charge them with a crime.

For example, if your partner is stalking you, they might be committing a crime called "criminal harassment". If your partner is threatening you, they might be committing a crime called "uttering threats".

Once you call the police, the police decide what happens. You do not decide.

There is always a chance that you could be charged, even if you are the abused partner.

You should give the police as much detail as you can. The police will talk to both you and your partner, and look for other evidence before deciding if they should charge either or both of you with a crime. If there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that someone has committed a crime, the police must charge that person with a crime.

If the police charge your partner, they should give you information about services for victims of partner abuse. These services can help you get some support after the police leave your home.

Your partner might be released by the police or the court. They will usually have to follow certain conditions. These conditions are the rules your partner must follow after being released by the police or the court.

Conditions of release

The police and the court can release someone charged with a crime in different ways. Each type of release has its own name.

For example, the police might release your partner on an "undertaking with conditions". This agreement is usually made at a police station. It means your partner:

  • promised in writing to appear in court on a future date
  • got conditions they have to follow

If the police have concerns about releasing your partner, they must take your partner to court for a bail hearing. The judge or justice of the peace decides whether to release your partner, or to keep them in custody until the trial. If they are released, they usually have to follow bail conditions. Bail conditions are also called terms of release. These are the rules your partner must follow after being released.

The conditions set by the police or the court are very important. There are many different kinds of conditions. Common conditions in partner abuse cases include that the partner charged with a crime:

  • must show up to court on the date ordered
  • cannot contact the other partner
  • cannot go within a certain distance of the other partner's home or workplace
  • cannot have a gun or any kind of weapon
  • has limited or no access to their children

The police and the courts take conditions seriously. If your partner does not follow them, they can be arrested, charged with a new crime, and face a bail hearing. After the new hearing, they might be released on stricter conditions.

Conditions can be changed by the criminal court at any time during the court process. They end when the criminal case is over.

Your partner might try to force or scare you into asking the Crown Attorney or the court to change or remove the conditions. If your partner threatens you or your children, you should tell the police. Your partner might be charged for making this type of threat. You can also get support from the Victim/Witness Assistance Program at criminal court.

You May Also Need

Springtide Resosurces (This resource is written for women in abusive relationships but might help anyone in an abusive relationship.)
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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