Many people think of physical abuse when they think of family violence, but family violence can occur in many different ways. Family violence happens when one family member uses their power to control another person who is now, or was, in their family. It can involve physical abuse, and also mental and verbal abuse, put-downs, harassment, stalking, or controlling the finances or activities of another family member. Sexual abuse, exploitation and coercion are also forms of family violence. Exposing children to intimate partner violence is a form of abuse. Anyone can be the victim of family violence, but children and dependent adults are the most vulnerable. Abuse is wrong regardless of the relationship.
Many forms of family violence, such as physical or sexual abuse, threats, harassment and stalking, are against the law. If you or a family member is experiencing abuse, the police in your neighborhood can help. A person who does any of these things to a family member may be charged under the Criminal Code of Canada. If you are involved in the family court process, speak with your lawyer or court staff if you have experienced any form of family violence.
Did you know? – Safety and Confidentiality in Family Court Matters
When you are involved in a family law court application, the other party (or parties) will see the documents you provide to the court.
If you wish to keep your contact information confidential, speak with court staff or your lawyer about how to do this.
Criminal law matters
Family court files and criminal court files are not linked. Family court staff do not have access to criminal court files. They rely on you to share any relevant information.
Please be sure to notify court staff and your lawyer if:
- there have been any criminal law orders or charges between you and the other party
- if there has been an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) or no-contact order between you and the other party
- if there has been violence or threats between you and the other party, or any other safety issues, regardless of whether there have been charges laid
Court staff have no way of knowing this information unless you, or the other party, tell them. This information can affect how your family law case proceeds.
Visit the links below for more information relating to family violence: