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

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What can I do next?

Make detailed notes

As soon as possible after you arrive at a safe place, try to make careful notes of what happened. Your notes should include times, dates, names, and what everyone said. If you are able to keep a diary, it can help you to remember.

If you were threatened, but not physically touched, write down exactly what your partner said to you, and describe the situation. If he threatened to harm the children, write this down too.

If you were injured, write down all the details, including:

  • exactly where your injuries are (for example, your upper thigh or the back of your neck)
  • how you were hurt (for example, with an open hand, fist, or boot)
  • how many times you were hit
  • how severe your injuries were (for example, bruises, cuts requiring stitches, or broken bones)
  • if there were witnesses, and their names

You can also draw a picture of your body and draw where you were hurt. If you see a doctor or a nurse, you can ask them to add details to your drawing and sign and date your picture.

These notes are very important. Keep them in a safe place. You can use them to refresh your memory if you are interviewed by the police, talk to a lawyer, or testify in court at a later date. These notes will help you provide information as clearly as possible.

If the police charge your partner with a crime, a police officer will prepare the case and a Crown Attorney will present the evidence in court.

Crown Attorney: a government lawyer who presents the case against the person accused of a crime in criminal court. They work for the government and are not the victim’s lawyer.

You need to make sure that the police and the Crown Attorney are aware of all of the evidence. The police might ask you to sign a consent form, so that they can get medical evidence of your injuries from the doctor or hospital that treated you.

Consent form: a document where you give your permission to allow certain people, such as your doctor, to share information in their file about you.

Keep evidence of any assault

Keep any evidence of the assault that the police do not take, such as:

  • photographs of your injuries
  • recordings of threats
  • torn clothing or property that was damaged during the assault
  • names of witnesses

Access victim services

The Ontario government has an online Victim Services Directory that helps abuse victims find programs and services in their communities. Go to services.findhelp.ca/ovss. You can also talk to an information and referral counsellor by calling the Victim Support Line at 1-888-579-2888.