There are options for people who fear for their safety because there has been violence or threats of violence.
The Victims of Interpersonal Violence Act
Saskatchewan has a law that provides ways to help fight violence in personal relationships. The Victims of Interpersonal Violence Act applies to...
- people who live together or have lived together as a couple or a family
- people who live together or have lived together in an intimate relationship
- parents of a child regardless of whether they are married and/or have ever lived together
- people in an ongoing caregiving relationship whether they have lived together or not
Interpersonal violence includes physical harm or damage to property, threats that cause a reasonable fear of physical harm or damage to property, forced confinement, sexual abuse, harassment, and depriving someone of necessities such as food and shelter.
This law creates three ways to deal with interpersonal violence - emergency intervention orders, victim's assistance orders and warrants permitting entry.
Emergency Intervention Orders
In an emergency, victims of interpersonal violence can apply to a special Justice of the Peace for help at any time of the day or night. Police officers, mobile crisis workers and victim services coordinators can help victims do this. In an emergency the Justice of the Peace can make an order without waiting for the case to go to court and without the accused being notified of the hearing or being present. The Justice of the Peace must be satisfied that there has been interpersonal violence and that the matter cannot wait for a court hearing.
In deciding whether to make an order the Justice of the Peace will consider...
- the kind of violence involved
- any history of violence in the relationship
- if there is immediate danger to a person or property
- the best interests of the victim and any children
- whether a child has been exposed to violence
- any recent change in circumstances of the accused (such as the loss of a job or getting out of jail)
- any controlling behaviour of the accused
- if the victim is particularly vulnerable in some way
An emergency intervention order can include an order that...
- the victim have exclusive occupation of the home*
- a police officer remove the accused from the home
- a police officer supervise while the accused or the victim takes personal belongings from the home
- the accused not contact the victim and other family members
- the accused not be near specified places where the victim or the family regularly go, such as their school or workplace
After a Justice of the Peace grants an emergency intervention order, the accused must be given a copy of the order. The order does not take effect against that person until they receive a copy of the order.
Because emergency intervention orders are designed for an emergency, they must be confirmed afterwards by a judge.
The judge must look over the order and the supporting papers within three working days of getting the documents from the Justice of the Peace. If the judge is not satisfied that there was evidence for the order, the judge can schedule a rehearing of the matter. The accused or the victim can ask a judge to review the emergency order at any time.
* An order for exclusive possession of leased property can be granted to a victim even if they are not listed on the lease. In these cases, landlords cannot evict a victim simply because they are not a party to the lease and the Act enables victims to assume the responsibilities under the lease. Alternatively, victims who have signed a lease can ask for a certificate that will allow them to terminate the lease on 28 days’ notice. More information about ending a lease early due to interpersonal violence is available from Victim Services.
Victim's Assistance Order
A victim's assistance order is similar to an emergency intervention order, but is designed to be used in non-emergency situations. This type of application is made by the victim to a judge at the Court of King's Bench. When making a victim's assistance order a judge can include any of the orders that may be made under an emergency intervention order. A victim's assistance order can also include an order that...
- the accused pay the victim compensation for things like medical or dental expenses, moving expenses or legal fees
- either party have temporary possession of things like a car, children's clothing, identification, keys or passwords
- prevents the accused from selling or damaging any property that the victim has an interest in
- recommends that the accused receive counselling
- the accused post a bond to ensure that they comply with the terms of any order
Warrant Permitting Entry
A Justice of the Peace may grant a warrant to a police officer, or other designated person, to enter a place where there are reasonable grounds to believe a victim of interpersonal violence will be found. The warrant may be granted only after the potential abuser has refused access to helpers or to the police to check on a person who may be a victim of interpersonal violence. It gives the holder of the warrant the right to go into the home. They may assist or examine the possible victim and may remove the victim from the home, if necessary.
If you fear you may be harassed or abused in the future, and have good reason to believe so, you can get protection from the courts in the form of a peace bond. A peace bond is not a criminal conviction. It is a court order that requires another person to "keep the peace" for a certain amount of time and to obey any other conditions the court may add. As long as the conditions of the peace bond are met, the person will not be charged with a criminal offence. If the conditions of the peace bond are broken, however, the person may be charged and convicted of a criminal offence, be fined or jailed, and will then have a criminal record.