Spousal assault refers to any intentional non-consensual application of force enacted against an intimate partner of the same household such as a current or former spouse, common-law partner, or dating partner.
Spousal Assault is not a distinct criminal offence under the Canadian Criminal Code. Individuals are often charged with many other criminal code offences as well as a simple assault (section 266) charge. Related offences include:
Assault - Applying force or threatening to apply force without consent.
Assault Causing Bodily Harm - Assault resulting in non-trivial injuries.
Making Indecent and Harassing Phone Calls - Intentionally conveying information through letter or telecommunication with the aim to harm or frighten a person.
Criminal Harassment - Engaging in behaviour that reasonably leads the targeted individual or their acquaintances to fear for their safety.
Sexual Assault - Non-consensual touching or acts of a sexual nature.
Uttering Threats - Communicating intent to cause harm or damage to a person or property.
Kidnapping and Forcible Confinement - When you cause another person to be confined or imprisoned against their will.
The penalties for these charges can include fines, probation, imprisonment, house arrest, and/or restitution. The Crown will evaluate the severity of the assault and the circumstances surrounding it when deciding on a sentence. Spousal assault can lead to more severe penalties than non-domestic charges due to it being considered an aggravating circumstance on sentencing.
Factors that determine the specific penalties include:
- Type of assault (simple, aggravated, sexual, and assault with a weapon)
- Manner and toll (physical or emotional)
- Prior criminal history
Don’t Face Your Spousal Assault Charge Alone
An experienced criminal defence lawyer is essential when facing charges resulting from Spousal Assault. They can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system, protect your rights, and develop a strong defence strategy tailored to your specific case.