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Do you know a woman who is being abused? A legal rights handbook

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What is a peace bond?

If you are afraid that your partner will hurt you, your children, your property, or your pets, but you do not want to call the police or the police have not charged him, you can apply for a peace bond under section 810 of the Criminal Code. These peace bonds are sometimes called "section 810 peace bonds" or "810 recognizances".

A peace bond is a type of court order that is a signed promise, in writing, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. It can include conditions. For example, your partner may promise not to contact you or your children.

To apply for a peace bond, you must meet with a justice of the peace (JP), and tell them why you need a peace bond. You should tell them why you are afraid that your partner might hurt you.

Finding a justice of the peace

Call your local courthouse or go to www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/how-do-i/find-a-justice-of-the-peace.

A section 810 peace bond can last for up to one year. If you need to be protected after your peace bond ends, you have to apply for another one.

Anyone can apply for a peace bond.

To get a peace bond, you need to make an appointment with a JP at the criminal court. You need to tell the JP why you think you need a peace bond. If the JP thinks there is enough evidence for your application to go to court, they will issue a summons to your partner to appear in court on a specific date.

Summons: a document that orders your partner to go to court on a specific date.

On that date, you have to tell the court why you think you need to be protected from your partner. Your partner also gets a chance to tell the court their side of the story. The JP looks at the evidence and decides whether or not they should grant a peace bond and what conditions it should include.

You can have a lawyer represent you in court. Usually, you still have to come to court to tell your side of the story. But you don’t have to come if your partner agrees before the court date to sign a peace bond.

Important: Sometimes a JP will suggest that both partners sign a peace bond. This is called a "mutual" peace bond. Never agree to sign a mutual peace bond without getting legal advice first. It would mean that you must follow the same conditions as your partner. An abusive partner might try to get you to break a condition and then call the police to report you.

Peace bond conditions

Even though it is issued by a court, the peace bond will not give your partner a criminal record. But if your partner breaks any of the bond’s conditions, call the police. Your partner might be charged with breaching a peace bond, which is a criminal offence. If he is found guilty, he can be sentenced to time in jail.

Peace bonds are entered on the police information computer system. The police are authorized to arrest anyone who breaks any of the conditions.

Applying for a peace bond

Peace bonds do not require a written application. This makes the process easier for some women. But if your partner does not agree to a peace bond and a hearing date has to be set, there might be many delays before the hearing takes place. There will also be no restrictions on his behaviour during this time. If your partner was charged with a criminal offence, conditions might be placed on his release while he waits for the trial.

After you get a peace bond

Keep a certified copy of the peace bond with you at all times. The police need to see it before they can do anything if your partner doesn’t follow the peace bond.

You might also want to give a copy to other people. For example, if there is a condition that your partner cannot contact your child, you should give a copy of the peace bond to your child’s teacher or principal so that they can show it to the police if your partner tries to pick up your child from school.