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

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What if the police do not charge my partner with a crime?

If the police do not charge your partner with a crime, ask them why. Ask to speak to another officer, such as the officer in charge of the police station or the domestic violence co-ordinator, if there is one at that station.

If you are not satisfied with their response, write down the officers' names and badge numbers. You can make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). You can call OIPRD toll-free at 1-877-411-4773 or go to www.oiprd.on.ca.

You should get advice from a lawyer or a community legal clinic before you make a complaint. You should also get advice during the complaint process, if you decide to go ahead. This is a serious step and there might be other ways to address your concerns.

Bringing a charge on your own

You can bring your own criminal charge against your partner for an assault that has just happened or that occurred in the past. You can do this whether or not the police were called at the time. If the police were called and they did not charge your partner with a crime, they should have made an occurrence report. You can use this report to bring your own charge, but it is not necessary. You should bring your own charge as soon as possible after the assault. If you do not, the court might ask why you waited.

Occurrence report: the police summary of what happened. It has details such as what you and your partner told them, and what the police saw. The report should include an occurrence or incident number.

It can be dangerous to stay with your partner after charging him with a crime because he might become more violent.

To bring your own charge or get a peace bond, you must go to criminal court. Your community legal clinic can give you more information about bringing a charge yourself, or to find out what you should do if your partner brings a charge against you. If the clinic cannot help you, it should be able to refer you to someone who can.

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