An Introduction To Domestic Violence in Ontario Transcript

Hi, I’m Lisa Gelman. In this segment we’re going to talk a little about domestic violence, how it relates to the criminal law system, and to the family law system.

Above all, the most important thing I want to stress today is the fact that your physical well- being and safety is paramount. So two things you need to remember, number one, if you feel your safety is in jeopardy, you’ve got to call the police. Number two, it’s very important to speak with a lawyer.

I’d like to tell you a couple stories about what I’ve seen here over the past 15 years of my practice with respect to family law. One of the most awful cases that we saw was when a woman came in, and the previous night her husband unfortunately tried to kill her, and even worse so it was in front of the children. She had done nothing, and she was ashamed and she was scared, and she didn’t know where to turn.

Luckily she came to see a lawyer, and what we recommended, and she did do, was she immediately called the police. So that started the whole process with the criminal proceeding. In addition to that though, we recommended that we immediately bring an emergency action, a court action, to the family law court.

So the next day we were in court, and fortunately we obtained for her a restraining order, a temporary custody order, and some emergency child support. In addition, the husband was kicked out of the home, and on a temporary basis she was awarded exclusive possession of the matrimonial home.

Unfortunately, we do see in our practice false allegations of domestic violence. So I had this really sad case once where a father came to me in tears and really distraught because his wife the previous evening, had called the police and alleged that he had spit at her and had thrown hot water at her. None of what was true, and what had happened was the police charged him and kicked him immediately out of the home.

So that was in the criminal procedure, what was going on with the police. This though now, we said to him, we’ve got to get you into court. We’ve got to go into the family law court and get an order to get you back into the home. And so what we eventually did was we got him back into the home, and eventually this man obtained custody of his children.

In order for us to obtain a restraining order for you, we’ve got to convince the court that you have a reasonable fear for your safety. What this restraining order can provide for you is that your husband or ex-husband or spouse, can’t come within X metres of you. In addition, it might say the husband or spouse can’t go near the school where the children are. The restraining order could also provide that your ex-spouse or spouse can go nowhere near the children for a specific period of time.

While we’re in court obtaining a restraining order for you, at the same time we can ask for a temporary custody order, child support, spousal support, and even exclusive possession of the matrimonial home which will mean you have peace of mind because you get to stay in the matrimonial home, and your ex-spouse or spouse can come nowhere near the home.

Thanks for watching. I’m Lisa Gelman. If you want more information on domestic violence, please take a look at the section we have on domestic violence on our website.