Do Victims of Domestic Assault Have to Press Charges in BC?

February 23rd, 2024
Do Victims of Domestic Assault Have to Press Charges in BC?

In today’s blog article, we are going to talk about domestic assault in BC. You may wonder if victims of domestic assault have to press charges, and the short answer to that question is, technically, no, or not really. But the longer answer is more complicated.

Domestic violence or Intimate Partner Violence, commonly referred to as IPV today, may meet an evidentiary threshold and the Crown may elect to prosecute someone without the cooperation of a victim if it deems that it is in the public’s best interest to do so. On the other hand, these types of crimes are so often underreported that the whole discussion of prosecution of IPV is often moot.

However, in practice, prosecutors do not like to prosecute cases unless they have a good chance of winning, and winning a case without the cooperation of a victim may be difficult or illusory. The enthusiasm of the victim for prosecution is not nearly as important as the victim telling the truth in court. When crimes are sufficiently egregious, then the prosecution will pursue the case with or without the help of a victim. There are cases in which the victim is so damaged physically or mentally as to be unable to testify in court.

Keep in mind that victims of IPV are overwhelmingly women and that IPV is a gendered crime. What this means is that these victims are often economically dependent on the person who committed the crime and may not have a lot of motivation to help any attempts at prosecution.

In any case, whether you are a man or a woman, if you have been charged with a crime, then you need to hire a criminal lawyer without delay.

Please contact Gagan Nahal for a free consultation in Vancouver at (604) 527-4769 as soon as possible. Mr. Nahal’s law practice focuses on criminal defence law, and he has extensive experience in this area of the law.


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.