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

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Which court will hear the case?

If your partner assaulted you and you report it to the police, it becomes a criminal law matter. The Ontario Court of Justice handles most criminal matters. The Superior Court of Justice handles the most serious criminal offences.

Domestic violence court

There is an Integrated Domestic Violence Court at the Ontario Court of Justice. It is located at 311 Jarvis Street in Toronto. It provides one judge to hear both the family law and criminal law cases that involve partner abuse.

However, this court cannot hear cases that involve divorce, property division, or child protection. It is also only available if you live in Toronto.

The goals of this court are to:

  • provide a more integrated approach to families experiencing domestic violence
  • increase consistency between family and criminal court orders
  • more quickly resolve the court proceedings

Court-ordered protection

You can apply for a peace bond to keep your partner away. This is done in criminal court. It can include conditions. For example, your partner can promise not to contact you or your children. A criminal court judge or a justice of the peace can make a peace bond.

Peace bond: a court order that is a signed promise to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Or, you might be able to apply for a restraining order to keep your partner away. This is done in family court. Family court also deals with support, decision-making responsibility, parenting time, divorce, and dividing family property. See What is a restraining order?

Restraining order: a court order that says what your partner cannot do. For example, the order might say where he cannot go, or who he cannot contact.