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

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What happens after the arrest?

If your partner is arrested and charged, he will be taken to the police station. Depending on what happened, he might be released right away. There will likely be conditions on his release, however.

Ask the police to tell you when your partner is being released. They might not automatically do this. You can also ask the Victim/Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) to help you get this information.

Victim/Witness Assistance Program

There is a VWAP in or near the court in all 54 court districts in Ontario. The program's staff will help you understand the court process and give you updates on the court case. They will help you communicate your needs to the Crown Attorney and the police. In some cases, they can set up a pre-trial interview with the Crown Attorney. But they cannot discuss the evidence in the case with you.

They can let you know what to expect on your court date, and might give you a tour of the court. They can also ask for a copy of your police statement for you to review before the trial. They can refer you to other services that might offer you support, such as help planning for your safety.

Throughout the court process, the staff can also give you emotional support. To find the VWAP in your area, you can call the Victim Support Line at 1-888-579-2888, or search the online Victim Services Directory at services.findhelp.ca/ovss.

Agreements and conditions

Sometimes, the police will release your partner after he signs a written agreement to appear in court at a later date, and to follow certain conditions. There are different types of releases and many kinds of conditions.

Important: If you fear for your safety, tell the investigating officer. Ask for a no contact condition to be put on your partner's release, and to be notified as soon as there is a decision to release him. This is a common release provision in domestic violence cases.
No contact condition: a requirement that your partner not contact you.

If you want to have some contact with your partner, you should also tell the investigating officer. The court usually orders a no contact condition unless you ask to have some contact. And, in some cases, the court might still order a no contact condition even if you ask for contact.

The police might hold your partner until they can take him to court for a bail hearing if they believe that he will not show up for his trial or that he might commit another offence.