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

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Can my partner be released?

Your partner can be released in several different ways while he waits for his trial. There are different names for each type of release. He might be released on:

  • An undertaking with conditions: This is your partner's written promise to appear in court on a future date. It has conditions. This agreement is usually made at the police station.
  • A recognizance without sureties: This is a document your partner signs that guarantees he will pay the court a fixed amount of money if he does not appear for his court date, or if he breaks any conditions of his release.
  • A recognizance with sureties: This is a document your partner and his surety sign. This document guarantees that the surety will pay the court a fixed amount of money if your partner does not appear at his court date, or if he breaks any conditions of his release.
  • Surety: someone who agrees to be responsible for a person who is charged with a crime and gets out of jail on bail before their trial.
  • A promise to appear: This is your partner's written promise to appear in court on a future date. It has no conditions and is not used very often in domestic violence cases.

He can also be released on bail. A recognizance is sometimes called a guarantee or a bond.

Finding out about release and conditions

Important: Whether your partner is released on an undertaking or recognizance, the conditions set by the court are the most important.

For example, your partner might be released with these types of conditions:

  • a no contact condition that he not contact you at all
  • a no contact condition that he cannot contact you, except through another person that you both agree on, if he wants to see the children
  • that he not contact the children, except as noted in a family court order, or if the Children's Aid Society you are dealing with allows this contact
  • that he not go near certain places, including your home and your workplace
  • that he live with his surety
  • that he not use alcohol or drugs
  • that he report to the police station regularly
  • that he continue any counselling program he is already attending
  • that he not possess any weapons

In most areas, police are primarily responsible for telling you when your partner is released on bail. If you would like to know the outcome of a bail hearing, you can also contact VWAP or the court administration office. A Victim/Witness Services Worker can explain the conditions of your partner's release. You can also ask VWAP or the court administration office for a copy of the court order with the conditions.

If your partner is held in jail, you can also register with the Victim Notification Service so that you will get notified when your partner is released. You can call the Victim Support Line at 1-888-579-2888 or 416-314-2447 in Toronto, and ask for this service.

Family court orders

You should tell the police and the Crown Attorney if you have a family court order. For example, you might have a court order that says that your partner has access to the children. If the Crown Attorney does not know about this order, your partner's bail conditions could say something different.

You should also tell the family court or your family lawyer that your partner was arrested and has been released with conditions. Talk to your lawyer about how to make access arrangements that are safe for you and the children. For example, the family court could order that any access to the children be supervised, or that parents are supervised when they drop off or pick up their children.