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Addressing Domestic Violence in Family Law
The following are some of the ways in which domestic violence is addressed within the family law context:
According to section 16(9) of the Divorce Act as well as section 24(3) and (4) of the Children’s Law Reform Act, violence against a partner or against a child is considered past conduct that is relevant to one’s ability to parent and which is significant in determining issues of custody and access.
According to section 24(3)(f) of the Family Law Act, in determining whether to make an order for exclusive possession, the court shall consider any violence committed by a spouse against the other spouse and/or a child.
Section 46 of the Family Law Act and section 35 of the Children’s Law Reform Act outline that on application, the court may make a restraining order.
Abuse by a partner may also be the basis for a tort action (for example: assault, battery, intentional infliction of mental suffering). These tort claims may be brought within a family law proceeding, as opposed to commencing a separate action.
If damages are awarded against the abuser and he or she does not have any funds, one may be able to receive compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.