Immediate Safety Measures for Victims of Family Violence

When facing immediate danger due to family violence, taking prompt and decisive action is crucial for your safety and well-being. Here are the steps you should consider:

  • Emergency Response: If you’re in direct danger, calling 911 should be your first step. The police can provide immediate protection and help you get to a safe place.
  • Crisis Support: VictimLINK offers a lifeline through its 24/7 hotline at 1-800-563-0808. This service provides confidential, multilingual support, guiding you toward resources and assistance tailored to your situation.
  • Resource Navigation: The Clicklaw website is a valuable tool for accessing a curated list of resources under the “Your safety” section. It directs you to relevant websites and organizations specializing in support for victims of family violence.

Family violence encompasses a range of harmful behaviors that extend beyond physical abuse. Recognizing this, Canadian laws provide a legal scaffold designed to protect individuals and address the complexities of family violence.

The Family Law Act

This provincial legislation offers a broad definition of family violence, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. It aims to safeguard individuals, especially vulnerable groups disproportionately affected by violence. Key aspects include:

  • Comprehensive Protection Measures: The law facilitates protection orders and conduct orders to prevent further abuse and ensure the safety of victims.
  • Focus on Children’s Well-being: When determining what’s best for children, the act requires a careful consideration of any family violence, recognizing its profound impact on children’s safety and development.
  • Professional Duty to Assess Risk: Lawyers, mediators, and family justice counselors are mandated to assess the potential for family violence in each case. This ensures that any legal strategy or agreement takes into account the safety and autonomy of all involved.

The Divorce Act

Mirroring the Family Law Act’s concerns, the Divorce Act at the federal level also acknowledges the varied forms of family violence. It emphasizes the necessity for judges to weigh family violence when making decisions about parenting arrangements, ensuring that children’s best interests are prioritized in the aftermath of separation or divorce.

Child Protection Laws

The Child, Family and Community Service Act specifically addresses child protection in British Columbia, with similar laws across other provinces. This legislation enables intervention by child welfare authorities if a child is at risk of harm, ensuring their safety and well-being.

Criminal Law Response to Family Violence

Family violence may also constitute criminal offenses, leading to charges under the Criminal Code. Legal responses include:

  • Restrictive Orders: No-contact and no-go orders restrict the accused’s ability to interact with or approach the victim, aiming to prevent further harm.
  • Peace Bonds: Serving as preventive measures, peace bonds can be issued to deter potential abusers from harming the victim, even before any criminal conviction.

Civil Law and Compensation for Victims

Victims of family violence may seek compensation through civil law by filing tort claims. This legal avenue allows for financial redress for the harm suffered, acknowledging the broader impacts of violence beyond physical injury.

What immediate steps should I take if I’m in danger due to family violence?

Prioritize your safety by calling 911

How do legal definitions of family violence inform protection measures?

Both the Family Law Act and the Divorce Act recognize a wide spectrum of abusive behaviors, guiding legal proceedings to ensure the safety and best interests of victims, especially children.

Can the presence of family violence influence custody and parenting decisions?

Absolutely. Judges are mandated to consider any history of family violence when determining parenting arrangements to protect children’s well-being.

What options do victims have for legal recourse and protection?

Victims can apply for protective orders, pursue criminal charges, or file civil lawsuits for compensation, depending on the nature and extent of the abuse.

How are child protection concerns addressed in cases of family violence?

Child welfare laws enable authorities to intervene, offering protection and support to children at risk, with a focus on maintaining their safety and welfare.

Pax Law can help you!

Our immigration lawyers and consultants are willing, ready, and able to assist you with any matters regarding family law. Please visit our appointment booking page to make an appointment with one of our lawyers or consultants; alternatively, you can call our offices at +1-604-767-9529.


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