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Knowing ways to protect yourself is essential. If you would like some assistance in developing a safety plan, please contact the Greater Sudbury Police Domestic Violence Unit and a referral can be made to you. Please use the following suggestions as you plan for your safety and the safety of your children.
When the Family is Still Together:
If possible, leave and call police before any violence starts.
You and your children should have a planned escape route.
Know a safe place where you and your children will go.
Keep an extra set of car keys hidden in a place where you can get to them quickly.
Keep a copy of important documents and money in a safe place.
Tell trusted friends, neighbours, and relatives about the abuse and create a code that will signal them to call police.
Have a code for your children that will let them know to go and get help.
Make sure your children know where the cell phone is and how to use it.
When the Abuser is Separated From the Family:
Keep your cell phone charged. Any charged cell phone will call 911. Even if you don't have a plan or pay-as-you-go minutes, your phone will still dial 911.
Tell your neighbours about your situation and ask them to call the police if they see your spouse if he is on court-ordered terms not to be near your residence. They are an extra set of eyes.
Ensure your children's school is aware of any court orders.
If possible, have someone accompany your children to school or the bus stop.
The more people you make aware of the situation, the more eyes and ears you have. Tell your employer.
If possible, change your daily routine.
Make sure your residence is well lit and install a security system if possible.
If a problem occurs when you are driving, stay in a well-populated area and call police on your cell phone. If you do not have a cell phone, honk your horn continuously and drive to the police station.
If you use public transit, sit close to the driver. Once you get off the bus, call someone while you walk home or as soon as you arrive home.
Every Victim Should Know
Definition of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, in an intimate relationship, including emotional/psychological abuse or harassing behaviour. Although both women and men can be victims of domestic violence, the overwhelming majority of this violence involves men abusing women.
Intimate relationships include those between the opposite sex and same sex partners. These relationships vary in duration and legal formality, and include current and former dating, common-law, and married couples.
Criminal Code offences include, but are not limited to, homicide, assault, sexual assault, threatening death or bodily harm, forcible confinement, harassment/stalking, abduction, breaches of court orders, and property-related offences.
These crimes are often committed in a context where there is a pattern of assaultive and controlling behaviour. This violence may include physical assault, and emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse. It can include threats to harm children, other family members, pets, and property. The violence is used to intimidate, humiliate, or frighten victims, or to make them powerless. Domestic violence may include a single act of abuse. It may also include a number of acts that may appear minor or trivial when viewed in isolation, but collectively form a pattern that amounts to abuse.
What Should You Do
If you feel that you are a victim of domestic violence, call the police. If the incident is in progress, call 911. If there is no immediate concern for your safety, call (705) 675-9171 and police will respond to your location. An investigation will commence.
If police do not have reasonable grounds that an offence has been committed, they will attempt to mediate the situation and offer advice and referrals. If police do have reasonable grounds that an offence has been committed, the police must lay charges.
If the abuser is at the scene, the abuser will be charged and arrested. If the abuser is not present, every attempt will be made to locate them. If unable to locate the abuser, a warrant will be obtained.
The victim will be notified by the police when the abuser is located and arrested. Upon arrest, the abuser will be advised that it is the police laying the charges and not the victim.
Upon making your complaint, the police will require you to attend the police station to participate in a videotaped interview. This video will be presented in court as evidence. You will be provided with safety planning and referrals prior to leaving the station.
Depending on the circumstances of the incident, the abuser will be held in custody pending trial or released with conditions in the form of an Undertaking or Recognizance pending trial. You will be notified if the abuser is released and advised of the conditions.
Common Release Conditions
Not to communicate directly or indirectly with the victim and children.
Not to attend within 500 meters of any known workplace or school of the victim or children.
Not to be within 500 meters of the victims residence.
Live with a surety at an approved residence and abide by the rules of that residence.
Abstain from the purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol.
Not to possess any firearm, crossbow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition, or explosive substance or such things intended for use as a weapon as defined by the Criminal Code.
If children were witness or involved in this incident, the Children's Aid Society will be notified. They will assist with further safety planning for you and the children.
The bail safety officer will contact you the following morning to get your input on bail conditions and to do further safety planning with you.
The Victim/Witness Assistance program will become involved once charges are before the court. Staff will make contact with you and provide you with information.
If the abuser pleads not guilty, a trial date will be set and you will be required to attend court.
You may have to testify at the trial. A Crown attorney will present your case and you will be the complainant, so you will not require a lawyer.
If you have any questions regarding your case or require further assistance, please contact the officer in charge of your case.
If you have questions regarding the court process, contact the Victim/Witness Assistance Program.
Other Options Available to You
Private Complaint Where police have not formed reasonable grounds and therefore have not laid a charge, the victim of the crime can make a private complaint. Individuals can go before a Justice of the Peace at the court house located at 155 Elm St, Sudbury, to request that a charge be laid on their behalf. The victim will be required to provide the police occurrence number to the Justice of the Peace on duty.
Peace Bond A peace bond is a court order that requires the abuser to keep the peace and obey any other specific conditions. If you have been threatened or fear for your safety or the safety of your children, you can explain this to the Justice of the Peace and apply for a peace bond.
A Court Date will be Set You will be able to explain to the judge what happened. The abuser will be required to attend and will also be given an opportunity to speak with the judge.
A Peace Bond is Issued If the judge believes that you have reason to fear for your safety, the abuser can be bound to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for up to one year.
Restraining Order A restraining order is an order of the court that requires the abuser to abstain from harassing, molesting, or annoying you and/or your children. This order is obtained under the Family Law Act, and you may require the assistance of a lawyer or duty counsel. Police cannot assist in obtaining this type of order. However, if the order is breached, report the breach to the police. If it is determined that there is enough evidence, the abuser may be charged.