Difference between revisions of "Family Violence Overview"

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|link = [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/global/search?f=Abuse+%26+family+violence family violence issues]
|link = [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/global/search?f=Abuse+%26+family+violence family violence issues]
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This chapter covers the laws and legal tools used to address family violence. Because family violence is not only a ''family law'' topic, the chapter discusses overlapping areas of law, including:
* the ''[[Family Violence and the Family Law Act|Family Law Act]]'' and its treatment of family violence,
* [[Family Violence and Child Protection|child protection]] issues,
* family violence in the [[Family Violence and the Criminal Code |context of Canada's ''Criminal Code'']], with information for victims of crime and those accused, and
* [[Suing for Family Violence in a Family Law Claim|civil claims]] and the ''law of torts'' which are designed to make wrongdoers pay compensation for the losses they have suffered.
<span style="color:#D2691E">'''Important changes'''</span> <br />
Look for explanations under this heading to read about recent changes to family law affecting the information provided in this section.


==If you are in danger==
==If you are in danger==
If your physical safety is in immediate danger, start here first:
If your physical safety is in immediate danger, start here first:
* '''If you are in immediate danger, call 911.'''  
* '''If you are in immediate danger, call 911.'''  
* '''For crisis support, dial [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/helpmap/service/1055 VictimLINK] at 1-800-563-0808''' for confidential and multilingual service.
* '''For crisis support, dial [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/helpmap/service/1055 VictimLINK] at 1-800-563-0808''' for confidential and multilingual service.
 
* For more information, visit the [https://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/global/search?f=Abuse+%26+family+violence Clicklaw website] (www.clicklaw.bc.ca) for a list of websites and other assistance under the heading "Your safety."
For more information, visit the [https://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/global/search?f=Abuse+%26+family+violence Clicklaw website] (www.clicklaw.bc.ca) for a list of websites and other assistance under the heading "Your safety." You can also visit MyLawBC's abuse and family violence website is a [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/4277 guided online tool] that asks you specific questions about your situation and gives you an action plan.
* MyLawBC's abuse and family violence website is a [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/4277 guided online tool] that asks you specific questions about your situation and gives you an action plan.
 
The rest of this chapter talks about the various laws related to family violence. Reading it will take some time and focus.
The rest of this chapter talks about the various laws related to family violence. Reading it will take some time and focus.


==Overview of the various laws around family violence==
==Overview of the various laws around family violence==
 
This chapter covers laws and legal mechanisms used to address family violence. Because family violence is not only a ''family law'' topic, the chapter discusses overlapping areas of law, including:
Family violence is addressed in a number of different ways. The provincial ''Family Law Act'' talks about family violence in the context of parenting after separation and personal protection orders. The provincial ''Child, Family and Community Service Act'' talks about family violence in the context of child protection. The federal ''Criminal Code'' talks about family violence in terms of behaviours that are criminal in nature and remedies, such as undertakings and peace bonds, that can be used to protect people from family violence. The civil law addresses the consequences of family violence in terms of damages that can be awarded to people who have suffered family violence.  
* the ''[[Family Violence and the Family Law Act|Family Law Act]]'' and its treatment of family violence,
* [[Family Violence and Child Protection|child protection]] issues,
* family violence in the [[Family Violence and the Criminal Code |context of Canada's ''Criminal Code'']], with information for victims of crime and those accused, and
* [[Suing for Family Violence in a Family Law Claim|civil claims]] and the ''law of torts'' which are designed to make wrongdoers pay compensation to plaintiffs for the losses they have suffered.


===The ''Family Law Act''===
===The ''Family Law Act''===
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The ''Family Law Act'' defines family violence and provides mechanisms for dealing with it, such as ''family law protection orders''.
The ''Family Law Act'' defines family violence and provides mechanisms for dealing with it, such as ''family law protection orders''.


Note that the ''Family Law Act'' has taken proactive measures against family violence. It is now mandatory for family law professionals to assess the potential for family violence and react accordingly. The ''Family Law Act'' requires all family dispute resolution professionals (lawyers, family justice counselors, mediators, etc.) to watch for warning signs of family violence in relationships. Where warning signs are present, legal professionals try not only to determine ''safety risks'' but also the degree to which family violence might be impairing the abused party's ability to speak for themselves, advocate for their interests, and negotiate a fair agreement.  
Note that the ''Family Law Act'' has taken proactive measures against family violence. It is now mandatory for family law professionals to assess the potential for family violence and react accordingly. The ''Family Law Act'' requires all family dispute resolution professionals (lawyers, family justice counselors, mediators, etc.) to watch for warning signs of family violence in relationships. Where warning signs are present, legal professionals try not only to determine ''safety risks'' but also the degree to which family violence might be impairing the abused party's ability to speak for themselves, advocate for their interests, and negotiate a fair agreement.


<span style="color:#D2691E">'''Important changes'''</span> <br />
<span style="color:#D2691E">'''Important changes'''</span> <br />
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===Child protection===
===Child protection===
Where children are at risk, the provincial government's ministry responsible for protecting children may become involved. The involvement of the Ministry of Children & Family Development and the authority of the ''[http://canlii.ca/t/84dv Child, Family and Community Service Act]]'' RSBC 1996, c 46, may influence your family law proceeding dramatically. This chapter takes a <span class="noglossary">brief</span> look at some child protection issues, what happens when a report is made, and when children may be placed in the care of the ministry.
Where children are at risk, the provincial government's ministry responsible for protecting children may become involved. The involvement of the Ministry of Children & Family Development and the authority of the ''[http://canlii.ca/t/84dv Child, Family and Community Service Act]]'' RSBC 1996, c 46, may influence your family law proceeding dramatically. This chapter takes a <span class="noglossary">brief</span> look at some child protection issues, what happens when a report is made, and when children may be placed in the care of the ministry.


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Civil law is a broad area of law, and it includes the ''law of torts'', better known as personal injury law. People who assault others can be sued for the damages they caused. If you were assaulted by someone outside of a family relationship, you might pursue your ''cause of action'' in a lawsuit for assault.  
Civil law is a broad area of law, and it includes the ''law of torts'', better known as personal injury law. People who assault others can be sued for the damages they caused. If you were assaulted by someone outside of a family relationship, you might pursue your ''cause of action'' in a lawsuit for assault.  


Where the abuser and victim are ex-partners, however, and a family law proceeding has already been started, it is more common to see the cause of action become part of a ''[[Form F3 Notice of Family Claim|Notice of Family Claim]]''.
Where the abuser and victim are ex-partners, however, and a family law proceeding has already been started, it is more common to see the cause of action become part of a ''[[Form F3 Notice of Family Claim|Notice of Family Claim]]'' in BC Supreme Court.


==Resources and links==
==Resources and links==
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===Resources===
===Resources===
* E-book by Dr. Linda C. Neilson, ''[http://commentary.canlii.org/w/canlii/2017CanLIIDocs2 Responding to Domestic Violence in Family Law, Civil Protection & Child Protection Cases]'' (CanLII February 2017)
* E-book by Dr. Linda C. Neilson, ''[http://commentary.canlii.org/w/canlii/2017CanLIIDocs2 Responding to Domestic Violence in Family Law, Civil Protection & Child Protection Cases]'' (CanLII February 2017, updated March 2020)
* [https://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/4277 MyLawBC Abuse & family violence pathway]
*  VictimLINK crisis support line: 1-800-563-0808
*  Battered Women's Support Service crisis support line: 1-855-687-1868
 
===Links===
===Links===


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*[https://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/global/search?f=Abuse+%26+family+violence Clicklaw resources on abuse and family violence]
*[https://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/global/search?f=Abuse+%26+family+violence Clicklaw resources on abuse and family violence]
*[https://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/global/search?k=child%20protection Clicklaw resources on child protection]
*[https://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/global/search?k=child%20protection Clicklaw resources on child protection]
*[https://www.lss.bc.ca/publications/subject.php?sub=4 Legal Services Society's publications on abuse and family violence]
*[https://legalaid.bc.ca/publications/subject/4 Legal Aid BC's publications on abuse and family violence]
*[https://clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/4642 Legal Services Society's Family Law website's information page "Child protection"]
*[https://clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/4642 Legal Aid BC's Family Law website's information page "Child protection"]


{{REVIEWED | reviewer = [[Fiona Beveridge]] and [[Samantha Simpson]], April 30, 2019}}
{{REVIEWED | reviewer = [[JP Boyd]], March 6, 2021}}


{{JP Boyd on Family Law Navbox|type=chapters}}
{{JP Boyd on Family Law Navbox|type=chapters}}

Latest revision as of 14:38, 28 June 2022


If you are in danger

If your physical safety is in immediate danger, start here first:

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
  • For crisis support, dial VictimLINK at 1-800-563-0808 for confidential and multilingual service.
  • For more information, visit the Clicklaw website (www.clicklaw.bc.ca) for a list of websites and other assistance under the heading "Your safety."
  • MyLawBC's abuse and family violence website is a guided online tool that asks you specific questions about your situation and gives you an action plan.

The rest of this chapter talks about the various laws related to family violence. Reading it will take some time and focus.

Overview of the various laws around family violence

This chapter covers laws and legal mechanisms used to address family violence. Because family violence is not only a family law topic, the chapter discusses overlapping areas of law, including:

The Family Law Act

Family violence includes physical and sexual forms of abuse, but under the Family Law Act it also includes harmful behaviour such as threats, harassment, emotional abuse, and even acts that harm someone's financial autonomy.

The fact that the legal system's concept of violence has expanded beyond brute physical assault reflects a more responsive attitude towards the realities of how abuse among family members impacts victims and families. The impacts are not always physical. Fear and intimidation can have as much or even a greater impact than physical violence on the outcome of a family law dispute.

The Family Law Act defines family violence and provides mechanisms for dealing with it, such as family law protection orders.

Note that the Family Law Act has taken proactive measures against family violence. It is now mandatory for family law professionals to assess the potential for family violence and react accordingly. The Family Law Act requires all family dispute resolution professionals (lawyers, family justice counselors, mediators, etc.) to watch for warning signs of family violence in relationships. Where warning signs are present, legal professionals try not only to determine safety risks but also the degree to which family violence might be impairing the abused party's ability to speak for themselves, advocate for their interests, and negotiate a fair agreement.

Important changes
The Family Law Act and, as a result of recent changes, the Divorce Act both require the court to consider the impact of coercive control and family violence when making decisions about children.

Child protection

Where children are at risk, the provincial government's ministry responsible for protecting children may become involved. The involvement of the Ministry of Children & Family Development and the authority of the Child, Family and Community Service Act] RSBC 1996, c 46, may influence your family law proceeding dramatically. This chapter takes a brief look at some child protection issues, what happens when a report is made, and when children may be placed in the care of the ministry.

Criminal law context

Where domestic violence exists, both family law and criminal law can be involved. This chapter provides an introduction to the ways that criminal law deals with family violence.

The Criminal Code provides for peace bonds, which are mechanisms to protect you from another person. They are protection orders and can be obtained against abusers of all kinds, including an abuser you dated, as well as an abusive spouse.

Civil law context

When individuals and corporations talk about suing each other, they are talking about enforcing their rights in civil law using the courts. A right to sue for something is called a cause of action. Being wrongfully fired or hit by a car in a crosswalk can give you a cause of action. A dishonoured loan can create a cause of action. So too domestic assault, or indeed assaults on anyone, can give rise to a cause of action.

Civil law is a broad area of law, and it includes the law of torts, better known as personal injury law. People who assault others can be sued for the damages they caused. If you were assaulted by someone outside of a family relationship, you might pursue your cause of action in a lawsuit for assault.

Where the abuser and victim are ex-partners, however, and a family law proceeding has already been started, it is more common to see the cause of action become part of a Notice of Family Claim in BC Supreme Court.

Resources and links

Legislation

Resources

Links

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by JP Boyd, March 6, 2021.


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