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Domestic Violence Dealing with abuse and violence. Getting support and help.

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Old 07-04-2013, 10:44 AM
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Default Experience with Justice System RANT

Iím having a problem coming to terms with the experiences Iíve had thus far with the criminal justice system and am hoping someone can perhaps give me a different outlook or perspective.


My ex assaulted me back in July 2012 when he punched me in the head without warning during an argument then proceeded to grab me by the back of the head shaking me while my face hit the middle console. All of this while he was driving at 80km/hr and our 11 month old was in the back seat. He was charged, pled guilty and we are now awaiting his sentencing that has been postponed so far about 4 times. He had assaulted me about 9 months prior by pushing me up against the wall, lifting me off the floor by my neck with our then 3 month old daughter in my arms, banging my head against the wall in the process. Thankfully, she was unharmed but my 4 yr old (at the time) heard the commotion and went into hysterics. I did not call the police at that time choosing to try and work through things on our ownÖbad idea.

So a year later after much reflection, Iím absoultey disgusted with our criminal justice system. I wonder whether my experience is common-place or if I was just unfortunate to end up dealing with some crappy individuals.

It started when my ex was arrested. The detective on the case called me late that night to tell me he would be released and also took my verbal impact statement at that time. The detective asked where I was staying and I had indicated I was residing at my parentís home temporarily since it was a safe and supportive environment. The detective then stated that my ex should be allowed to reside in the home since I wasnít going to be there. When I expressed my concern that I didnít feel my ex could care for my 2 dogs with his work schedule since he worked sometimes 10-12 hrs/day, he got quite heated saying there was no reason that my ex shouldnít reside in the home and that my ex said he would care for the dogs. He also said that my ex had to finish painting his uncleís car, which blew me away. For a week, I had no access to our clothes/belongings since a restraining order was in place against him, and I had no idea if my dogs were being taken care of. As you can imagine at a point where I was drained, terrified and still bruised I was beside myself. I figured the detective was viewing my ex as the victim and, as I had been worried all along, would believe what he was saying since he could be very charming and believable when he wants to be. I won't even start with my CAS experience. Let's just say I'm not a fan.

It was shortly after this that I found out my ex had a history of violence against women. I found his release conditions in a pile of our papers in our office (I was dividing up our stuff and putting his aside). He had never disclosed this to me. From what I understand he was charged, pled guilty and received a conditional discharge. So it was wiped after his probation. I never would have known about that had I not found it. What was upsetting at this point in time was the assigned detective would have been privy to this information when he allowed Kevin to reside in our home for the week following the assault.

Ok, so then I start speaking with contacts at VWAP. They give me a run-down of what will occur and were actually a wonderful resource. I provide my victim impact statement to them. He pleads guilty to assault but they wipe the bodily harm apparently since there is no medical record. Iím told his history is not allowed to be presented. There are plenty of pictures however to show the bruises, split lip, blood on the seat and cracked windshield. His sentencing keeps being postponed since they were waiting for him to finish the New Directions program (2nd time through I might add). Then this last time his lawyers postpone the sentencing because one has a son graduating, they say. My ex tells my parents they postponed it because they were waiting for another letter from one of the programs heís in. Iíve shown up twice now to read my impact statement and both times have been told itís postponed after paying parking and taking time off work. Heís been told the night before. Grrr.

The real eye opener for me has been my discussions with VWAP and the Crown. My ex has a criminal history (prior assault charge and restraining order against him) but because he doesnít have a criminal record none of his past history is presented. So in essence from what I understand an individual can commit a vicious assault every few years and receive a conditional discharge each time. As long as they commit the assault outside their probationary period, it is wiped as if it never happened and the courts will NOT have access to this info when they negotiate his plea. The only way his/her history is presented is if itís requested for the sentencing and even then it may not be granted. Am I going insane? Is that not ridiculous?


I can totally comprehend if one has commited an assault once Öeveryone should be given a 2nd chance (depending on the severity of course). But how many chances should one get? Why isnít the public privy to this information? Why do a criminalís rights supercede the rights of his/her past, present and future victims? Quite honestly, I canít get my mind around it and although so many people in the system tell me itís frustrating and unfair, they also tell me ďItís just the way it isĒ. So WHY is it like this?

I canít get over how much the rights are protected of individuals who commit crimes repeatedly. When I wrote my impact statement I was told I canít include his past history since itís unfair to him. It doesnít give him a fair trial if that info is presented. Hm, well perhaps he should have thought about that before bashing my head in. Iím also told I canít talk about when he breached his conditions because he wasnít charged yet. Iím trying to explain why I fear him and want a restraining order but again, itís unfair to him.

So what about my rights as the victim? What about his past victimís rights? I just donít get it at all and donít understand why everyone just accepts it. It seems like if you have someone who knows the system and is a great manipulator he/she can go through his/her whole life assaulting individuals and never have a record or serve jail time. It doesnít make any sense to me. Perhaps someone can shed some light though if one more person tells me ďIts just the way it isĒ, I may have a meltdown lol.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:09 AM
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I'm sorry you were assaulted - you gave him a second chance and he could not control himself, as seems to be his history. Hard to imagine how anyone could do that. Though, it would be nice if it happened to him I'll have to admit

He deserves to be punished like any assault.

If you were not staying at your home, I do agree that he should be allowed to.

You didn't mention the cracked windshield until later in your story - how did the windshield become cracked?

Last edited by billm; 07-04-2013 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:31 AM
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Thanks biilm. From further discussion with the Victim Crisis Unit it is not customary that the individual who commited the assault be allowed to reside in the home. I was only planning on staying at my parents for a couple of days to get support and be in a "safe" place until I had a safety plan in place. In addition to that, my dogs were left for long periods of time in his care and upon my return would mess constantly. They are older dogs and STILL can't be left or they will mess.

The windshield cracked when he ripped the rear view mirror off in his rage right after the assault.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:34 AM
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Oh and I might add that because he had an acquaintance replace the windshield at our home we didn't get a receipt but I paid for it in cash since he had no money. This occured before he was arrested obviously. And now because there is no receipt and I paid in cash even with the picture I may not get compensated for it. Frustrating...
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:03 PM
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I am sympathetic to your experience and hope you recover. That being said, you are going to run into trouble if you want to connect family court to criminal court, and expect your ex to be punished in family court because he assaulted you.

Don't feel downtrodden because you won't be reimbursed for the windshield, or because you left the family home and he is now residing there.

Criminal court is the place where your ex should answer to the assault, and family court is where you sort out your financials based on mathematics. Try to keep a clear head about this. You won't get reimbursed for the windshield because he is a violent jackass.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:32 PM
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Mess, I am not looking for my ex to be punished through the family law side. Please explain what you mean by that statement. I am hoping the criminal side will take care of it (although not counting on it) and when it comes to the family side I'm hoping for a restraining order against him since I don't feel safe. But I in no way am looking to punish him on the family law side aside from compensation on the damages. If you view looking out for the safety of my daughter as punishment then that's your perception but I know in my own heart that's not what I'm doing.

It's funny because everyone seems to play each side against each other. VCU starts off by telling you he's a monster and to get away from him and if i don't it will happen again. That it's a pattern that's tough to break. The criminal side says to get protection from the family side since he likely will get another slap on the hand because that's just the way the system is. Then the family law side says if he doesn't get a restraining order from the criminal side then why should they give one. All this despite proof and a charge, a history and a guilty plea. Sorry, I still don't get it.

I would like compensation from the damages and from what I understand would likely have received them if I had a receipt on the family law side. My frustration is that in the mindset I was in I can't say I was thinking that obtaining the receipt was the most important thing at the time. My bad. But why shouldn't I request to be compensated? I didn't crack the windshield. Of course, I should be reimbursed for the windshield because he's a violent jackass, that's the point. Why should he not have to pay it? I'm not following you.

Yes, why not let him NOT pay for the damages and it's yet again another thing he's not responsible for so he can continue to glide through and keep getting rewarded for his violent behaviour. Believe me, I'm trying to keep as clear a head as i can through all this but it becomes increasingly more difficult as people (or the system) continue to make excuses for him and his behavior.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:37 PM
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Something to consider and why you may be experiencing these difficulties and to Mess' point (I think):

Winning family battles in criminal court

Shaw v. Shaw, 2008 ONCJ 130 (CanLII)
Date: 2008-03-25
Docket: 34/08
Parallel citations: 62 RFL (6th) 100
URL: CanLII - 2008 ONCJ 130 (CanLII)
Citation: Shaw v. Shaw, 2008 ONCJ 130 (CanLII)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaw v. Shaw
I observe, however, that the damage of which I speak is not from the laying of the charge — this will happen in any event, regardless of the manner in which the defendant is brought before the court. The way that the criminal justice system approaches the commencement of these matters, however, often wreaks family law havoc with the family unit of the defendant and the complainant, and in particular the children of those parties. Family courts decide custody and access issues on the basis of statute and case law defining the best interests of the children. The criminal justice system pays no attention to such interests because it is not geared up to do so nor are the participants widely trained in how the actions of the system — from the officer who refuses to release the defendant at the station, to the duty counsel who allows the defendant to agree to inappropriate conditions of release out of expediency — effect the lives of the members of the defendant’s family. Similarly the Superior Court is tasked with the duty of adjudicating the respective rights of the parties to remain in the matrimonial home pending the resolution of the matrimonial litigation. Routine orders excluding a party from the common home of the parties until the end of the criminal matter without thought to the consequences thereof, and without a remedy short of a bail review, place one party in a position of immediate superiority over the other party for as long as it takes (perhaps a year) for defended criminal charges to be resolved.
Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoccerMom73 View Post
Please explain what you mean by that statement...
Family court is not the place where you should be going to seek any form of compensation or reimbursment. It is a place where financial issues are dealt with mathematically, not according to who harmed who. You will not be compensated in family court because your ex is a violent jackass.

Your financials will be determined by what you brought into the marriage compared to what you have now. This will be compared to what your ex brought into the marriage compared to what he has now.

Your comment that you are upset that you paid for the windshield just indicates that you are putting an emotional attachment to the financial situation. If you drag that kind of thing into family court, all you are doing is increasing your legal bill.

Your ex assaulted you and will be punished in criminal court for that. He will not be punished in family court for it - although it may affect his access with the children. Don't look for compensation in family court for his behaviour.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:06 PM
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Thanks Tayken. This is an interesting article and raises some good points. I have to say that a huge part of the problem with regards to my perception of this entire situation is that I have very little background (or interest for that matter) in the legal field...criminal, family, whatever. I'm pretty much forced to take an interest now though

Let me clarify that the officer (who was part of the assault unit and deals with these kinds of issues regularly) had allowed for my ex to stay in the home for a week following the assault but after that time I was allowed to resume residing there with the children. My issue with it was that this man who had just beat the crap out of me was allowed residence even on a temporary basis because he told the officer he needed to paint his uncle's car and because he said he would care for my dogs. The officer would have seen his past history if there was any doubt about my side of the story (plus the pictures that don't lie). So it's difficult for me to get my mind around the fact that an officer (who has experience in this field) would think it fine that he make things difficult for the victim and her children because the individual charged needs to complete a task. To me, if there is sound proof, which there was, it was his choice to act violently and so therefore he should suffer the consequences...not be rewarded for this behaviour.

But yes, I'm seeing more and more how the criminal and family sides do not mesh on many levels. Thanks again.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:15 PM
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I might be being a bit curt here but...

From a family law perspective it is his home too. Where did you think he would go after being released by the police? Who would be paying the rent/mortgage? How would he get money to survive if he can't finish the work he started (uncle's car) assuming that's his job.

He assaulted you and that's terrible and will be handled by criminal court. Outside of that, his life is falling apart now and he needs to live, work and eat like anyone else.
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