Abuse Is Wrong In Any Culture: for First Nations and Métis people

Words used in this booklet


Although these explanations can help you understand, they are not complete legal definitions. These are common every-day working definitions. If you need more complex definitions for your own situation, please see a lawyer or Legal Aid.

An assault happens when someone uses force, or the threat of force, on someone else without that person's consent. Consent that is forced or given out of fear is not true consent.
bail hearing
This is a court proceeding that takes place after a person has been arrested and charged. The court decides whether the person should be released with conditions, such as not being in contact with you. Or, the judge at the bail hearing could decide if the abuser should be held in jail until the charges are dealt with by the court. Bail is also called "interim judicial release".
court order
If you are afraid for your safety, but do not want to call the police for help, you may be able to get an order from a Civil or Family Court stating that the abuser must stay away from you; these are often known as restraining orders. You should get legal help to find out what types of civil or family court orders are available in your province or territory that might be useful to you. Emergency Protection Orders or emergency intervention orders are civil protection orders that are available in most provinces and territories under specific family violence legislation. They can grant the victim temporary exclusive occupation (only you and your children can live there - not the abuser) of the home; remove the abuser from the home; set limits on contact and communication with the victim and other remedies. You should get legal help to find out what types of family court orders or civil court orders are available in your province or territory and whether these are relevant to your situation.
criminal harassment
If you are scared because someone is repeatedly following you or contacting you when you don't want them to, or watching you or behaving in a threatening manner toward you, or your children or family, that person may be committing an offence known as criminal harassment. This is sometimes called stalking.
Crown Attorney
This is the lawyer (also sometimes called Crown Counsel or Crown Prosecutor) who represents the government (known as "the Crown") on your behalf. The Crown Attorney presents the case to the court when a crime has been committed, and may require the victim, or a witness, to tell their story to the Judge. The person who is charged will usually have his own lawyer, called the Defence Attorney or Defence counsel.
custody order (or parenting order)
If you have custody of your children, you are legally responsible for making the major decisions about their lives (such as their upbringing and schooling). When you have custody, your children usually live with you, but will likely visit the other parent. Child custody can be sole custody, where one parent makes the major decisions about the children, or joint custody, where the parents must make the major decisions together. Another term, such as "parenting order" may be used in your province or territory. A parenting order sets out how decisions about the child are to be made, and how the child's time is shared between parents.
peace bond
If you are afraid for your safety, you may be able to get a peace bond, also called a "recognizance". This is a criminal court order that sets conditions on the person who is being abusive. For example, that person may be forbidden to see you, write to you, or telephone you. If he disobeys the order, the police may arrest him. If you want to know more about a peace bond you can ask the police or a lawyer.
This is a court order that can be part of a sentence for an offender. A person on probation will have conditions set on release, such as having to go to counselling.
After judges find someone guilty of a criminal offence, they sentence that person to jail, called a custodial order, or to serve their sentence in the community, called a community sentence order. In instances when someone must serve his sentence in the community, there are conditions placed on that person, such as not leaving their house except at certain times of day or for specific reasons, sometimes called "house arrest". Or he may be ordered to work for the community, such as helping out the Elders.
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