POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 95 What happens if you call the police? If someone has abused you, you should tell the police. All parts of Canada have police and Crown prosecutor andspousal abuse policies to ensure that spousal violence is treated as seriously as stranger violence. The police might arrest the person if they believe the person has broken the law. The person might have to go to jail for a few hours until the bail hearing or maybe longer depending on what the judge decides. If you are afraid for your safety, ask the police to notify you before the person is let out of jail. The judge may set rules for the release of the person who abused you. For example, the judge may order that the person is not allowed to contact you. If you are afraid of being hurt when the person is released from jail, you may want to find a safe place to stay such as with a friend or at a shelter. In some provinces and territories you may be able to get a non-criminal emergency protection order, such as a court order that tells the person who was abusive that they must not communicate with you. The order might make the person abusing you leave the family home for a period of time. You can ask police or victims services for information on how to go about this. If an emergency protection order is not available, you may be able to get a peace bond. What happens if the police charge the person who abused you? If the person who abused you pleads guilty to a criminal offence, the judge will decide on a sentence. The sentence may be a fine or probation. The person who abused you might also have to get counselling. The judge might also order time in jail. In deciding on a sentence, the judge will consider many things. For example, the judge will consider whether this is a first offence and how severe the abuse was. If you are afraid, tell the Crown prosecutor or your victim services worker. If the person who abused you gets probation, the judge might release them with conditions. If the person who abused you tells the judge they are not guilty, then there will likely be a trial. It may be several months before the trial starts. You will have to be a witness at the trial, but there are several things the courts can do to make you more comfortable when you appear as a witness. You may be able to speak to the judge from behind a screen or from another room by closed-circuit television so that you do not have to see the person who abused you. You may also be able to have a support person near you while you testify. If the person who abused you does not have a lawyer, the Crown prosecutor can ask the judge to appoint a lawyer so that you do not have to be cross-examined by the person who was abusive. If the person who abused you is found guilty, the judge will decide on a sentence such as a fine, probation or jail time. Government of Canada Gouvernement du Canada GET HELP WITH FAMILY VIOLENCE