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Domestic Violence Laws in Canada

Part VIII of the Criminal Code / Against the Person and Reputation

Intimate Partner Violence

If you have been charged with a crime in Canada, you should consult with a criminal defence lawyer in your area

Domestic Violence - Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Legal Terms


A person commits assault when, without consent, they apply force intentionally to another person or just threaten such an action. A person can also face this charge if they openly wear or carry a weapon/imitation weapon.


The voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.

Crown prosecutor

Lawyers who act for the federal, provincial and territorial governments and prosecute people accused of crimes on behalf of the Crown.

Forcible confinement

Unjustly holding anyone against their will through the use of threats, duress, force or the exhibition of force.

Hybrid offence

Hybrid offences fall between a summary and an indictable offence. The Crown prosecutor chooses whether to treat the offence as a summary or indictable offence.

Indictable offence

Indictable offences are the most serious offences under the Criminal Code and they come with more serious punishments, up to a maximum penalty of life in prison.


The unlawful restraint. confinement or imprisonment of a person against their will. It also includes transporting them against their will or holding them for ransom.

Reasonable doubt

The Supreme Court of Canada has said that reasonable doubt “falls much closer to absolute certainty than to proof on a balance of probabilities” and “that something less than absolute certainty is required, and that something more than probable guilt is required."

Summary conviction

Summary convictions are used for lesser offences with penalties, fines and short jail time. They reflect the majority of offences as defined in the Code.


The recruitment, transportation, harbouring and influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit them, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour. It is often described as a modern form of slavery.

Young person

Those 12 years old or older, but less than 18.

Domestic Violence - Referenced Links