Do you know a woman who is being abused? A legal rights handbook
What sentence could he get?
If your partner is found guilty, the sentence that he gets will depend on the seriousness of the crime. It will also depend on other things, such as whether he has a previous criminal record. Abusing a child is something that can increase the sentence.
Victim impact statement
Before your partner is sentenced, you can tell the judge about the effect his violence has had on you and your family. You can do this by preparing a victim impact statement.
Both the police and VWAP staff can help you prepare this statement. They can also advise you about the best time to complete it. The Crown Attorney must give it to your partner's lawyer. You can be asked about it, although this is not very likely. But you should know that your statement could be used in any family court case that happens after the criminal trial.
Kinds of sentences
At the sentencing hearing, a person who has been found guilty might receive a "discharge". This means that they have been found guilty, but the judge did not give them a criminal record. A discharge can be ordered with or without conditions of probation.
If the judge believes a criminal record is necessary, a person who is convicted of a charge related to domestic violence can be:
- sent to jail for a specific amount of time
- given a "suspended sentence", for which conditions are imposed under a term of probation
- ordered to serve a "conditional sentence", which is a jail sentence served in the community with strict conditions, such as house arrest
- ordered to pay a fine
- ordered to pay restitution to cover the victim’s costs for property loss, damage, or personal injury
Orders to pay a fine are rarely used. Restitution is usually only ordered if your partner damaged your property.
A judge can order that your partner obey specific conditions for a certain period of time as part of his sentence. This is called probation. Many sentences include probation. The probation can be ordered to follow the time spent in jail, or right away if the sentence does not include jail time.
If your partner is given a sentence with a term of probation, conditions are imposed. The conditions can require that your partner:
- not contact you directly, or through someone else
- only contact you if you give your consent in writing to their probation officer, which you can take away at any time
- not come within a certain distance (for example, 100 metres) of your home, workplace, or any place that they know you are at
- only contact you and the children as said in a family court order
- support you or your children financially
- report to a probation officer regularly
- not use alcohol or drugs
- go to, and actively take part in, treatment or counselling for substance abuse, partner abuse, or anger management
- not own or carry a weapon
VWAP, the Crown Attorney, or court staff can give you a copy of the probation order.
If you have a family court case, you should tell your family law lawyer or the family court about the conditions of probation. This is important if a family law order has to be changed because of the conditions of probation.