If your partner or ex-partner hits you, sexually abuses you, or is threatening or harassing you, call the police. Call 911 if it is an emergency or if you are not sure whether it's an emergency. If it is not an emergency, you can call the Edmonton Police Services Complaint Line at 780.423.4567.
When the police answer, give your name and address. The person answering the phone needs to know what is happening. Try to speak slowly and clearly. You will need to answer all the questions you're being asked. Tell the police:
• That you are in danger
• What your partner is doing or has done
• If there is a weapon, what it is and where it's kept
• If there has been violence before
• If you have children with you
• If either you or the children are hurt
• If you already have a peace bond or restraining order in place
What happens when the police come?
When the police come to your house, they'll talk to you to find out what's happened. Tell them if you're afraid for your safety and what your partner has done to make you afraid.
Tell the police if you've tried to leave the relationship, or have told your partner you are leaving. The police should know about this because your partner may become more violent under these conditions.
If the police find that your partner has assaulted or threatened you, or might do it again, they'll probably make an arrest. The police must arrest the person if there's enough evidence. They can make the arrest even if you don't want them to.
If your partner leaves before the police arrive, they can still arrest the accused when found. If you know where the accused is, tell the police.
The police will give you a card with a contact name and phone number on it and your police case number. The officer may arrange for a Victim Services advocate to come to your home to assist you with information or getting to safety. If your partner returns you can ask the police to come back.
How do I get to a safe place?
You can ask the police or Victim Services advocate to arrange for you and your children to go to a shelter in Edmonton or the surrounding area. You can also ask the police to get you and the children to friends, relatives, or a motel instead.
What if I need medical treatment?
If you've been hurt, the police can get you to a hospital or doctor. The hospital will collect medical evidence of the assault. Remember you have the right to ask questions about any medical examination, to have a friend there with you and to refuse treatment.
Do I have to leave my home?
No. The choice is yours. However, if you stay in the family home, it's a good idea to have the locks changed and to have a safety plan in place.
What will happen if my partner is arrested?
If the police make an arrest, one of two things can happen:
• The accused will be released but the police or courts will make an order telling him/her there are certain things they can't do (for example contact you or go to your home); or
• The accused will be kept in jail overnight, and will have to appear in front of a judge in a courtroom for a bail hearing to see if they will be released, and what the conditions of release are.
What if I don't want to proceed with the charge?
Once a charge has been laid, the police can't drop the charges at your request. Instead, you must contact the Crown Prosecutor. Even so, the decision to drop the charges is not yours to make: the Crown Prosecutor may decide to proceed with the charges whether or not you want the trial to go forward.
If my partner isn't arrested can charges still be laid?
Even if the police don't arrest your partner, they're required to investigate your case and prepare a report. They'll do this even if you haven't been hurt or decide you don't want to be a witness. They'll ask you questions about what happened and it's important to tell them as many details as you remember.
If the police believe your partner has committed a criminal offence, they may lay a criminal charge. The Crown Prosecutor will decide if there is a reasonable chance your partner will be convicted and whether or not the prosecution will proceed. The police and the Crown Prosecutor don't need your consent to do this.
You have the right to know the status of the police investigation and the court case involving your partner. Also, you have the right to know if the Crown Prosecutor isn't prosecuting the charges. You can ask the Crown Prosecutor for an explanation if the charges aren't proceeding.
Under what conditions are charges not laid?
In order to charge an individual with assault, the police must have reasonable and probable grounds, which may include evidence such as bruises, abrasions, redness, etc. In cases where there is no witness or physical evidence, it can be extremely difficult to prove the abuse. If this is happening to you, please consult a lawyer.
What if I don't call the police right away?
It's a good idea to write down what happened and report the assault or harassment as soon as possible, so you can remember the details. Include the times, dates, places and as many specific details as possible. This helps the police get the evidence they need.
Even if you don't call the police right away, you still have the right to get help. Call the police or go in person to the police station to report the assault or harassment. If you've been sexually assaulted, the workers from the Sexual Assault Centre can assist you.
What will happen at the bail hearing?
At the bail hearing, the Judge or Justice of the Peace will decide if the "accused" (your partner) should be let out of jail while the charges are dealt with. The Judge will say what your partner has to do to be released. These things are called "conditions of bail" and can include that your partner can't use alcohol or drugs, or own guns or other weapons.
As a condition of bail, the Judge or Justice of the Peace can order your partner to stay away from your home or where you work and not to contact you either directly or indirectly. This means that your partner can't contact you in any way, send gifts, or ask someone else to give you a message.
Will my partner be able to visit with our children?
In some cases the Judge will order that a third party become involved so that your partner can still see the children. The Judge will determine the frequency, location and may include a condition that a third party supervises the visits.
How can I find out what the conditions of bail are?
Ask a victims services worker to help you find out what the conditions of bail are. Remember to keep a copy of the bail conditions with you at all times.
What happens if my partner doesn't obey the conditions of bail?
If your partner doesn't do what the conditions of bail or the no contact order say, he/she can be arrested again and charged with "breach" of bail conditions. This is in addition to the first assault, criminal harassment, or other family violence-related charge. If your partner breaks any of the conditions, phone the police or go to your local police station and report the incident.