Legal consequences of dating violence

For the purpose of this paper, dating violence is defined as any intentional physical, sexual or psychological assault on a person by a dating partner.

Dating partners include both casual dates and individuals in long-term dating relationships.

It is expressed in a range of harmful behaviours — from threats, to emotional maltreatment, to physical and sexual aggression.

While some forms of abusive behaviour, such as acts of physical assault, could result in charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, others, such as ridiculing or otherwise being verbally abusive, are harmful but not criminal offences.

While the distinction between severe and moderate violence is common in the research literature, it is important to remember that the injuries resulting from physical violence depend on many factors, including the vulnerability of the victim (e.g., disability or a prior history of abuse), the victim’s resilience, and the social support that he or she receives, including personal and wider social supports.

While the risk of physical injury may be moderate or extreme, any physical violence carries an accompanying risk of emotional harm.

Sometimes, especially if the crime is very serious, a trial in a criminal Court will be required.

Physical Violence occurs when one partner uses physical force to control the other.

It includes a range of assaults, from pushing, shoving and grabbing to choking, burning and assaulting with a weapon.

The young person may have to attend Court where they will be asked questions by lawyers and the judge or jury will decide whether the young person is guilty and should be given a sentence (e.g.

a prison sentence, a fine, community work or something else).

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