Considerations Related to Assault Charges in the Context of Domestic Violence

September 27th, 2023
Considerations Related to Assault Charges in the Context of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence and the assault charges that can stem from it is very problematic for all involved. In today’s blog article, we would like to offer a summary of the most common issues and considerations related to assault charges within the context of domestic violence.

The Police

First, domestic violence calls to the police are common. Domestic violence, sometimes referred to as IPV or Intimate Partner Violence is the most common reason people call police for help. And for those responding, these can be particularly dangerous and violent scenes to attend to. Of all police deaths in the line of duty, roughly 10% are attributed to deaths while attending to a domestic violence call.

The Case

These cases are difficult to prosecute and often do not go to court. And remember, the Crown does not like to prosecute cases unless they have a good shot at winning them. Witnesses are reluctant to testify against family members for a variety of reasons including fear of retribution, shame, fear of the economic consequences—which we will mention later—and other reasons.

The Accused

There is a stigma attached to all assault cases and especially sexual assault and any crimes against children. Whether or not a case like this proceeds, the stigma may follow the accused around afterward, anyway.

Economic and Cultural Consequences

While not all victims of domestic abuse are women and children, most of them are. And if the breadwinner goes to jail, then the family members left behind can find themselves in poverty. While domestic abuse crosses all socio-economic lines, there are higher rates of abuse/assault as we travel down the socio-economic ladder. In addition, the primary breadwinner and holder of more power in a relationship is usually the person committing the crimes, which spells major problems for the victims if the breadwinner goes to jail.

These types of crimes are vastly underreported. One reason is that if children report crimes against them, then these children may be removed from the home into conditions that could be worse than what they started with. So, both economic and cultural consequences are significant when charges are pursued. 

Gagan Nahal is a criminal defence lawyer based in Surrey, British Columbia, although he has represented clients across Canada. He works vigorously and tirelessly defending his clients. 

If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to Mr. Nahal, please call him directly at (604) 527-4769.