Domestic assault is any abuse that happens between people in an intimate relationship, which includes (opposite or same-sex) current or former spouses, common-law partners and dating partners, and relationships between parents (or legal guardians) and children.
Domestic assault is not a separate and distinct criminal charge, and therefore a person accused of a domestic assault will be charged with one of the forms of assault previously outlined. It is important to note, however, that when abuse occurs within an intimate relationship, it is considered an aggravating factor in sentencing.
For an Accused person to be convicted of assault, the Crown Prosecutor must satisfy the Court, beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the Accused applied force indirectly or directly to the Complainant;
- That the Accused intended to apply force; and
- That the Complainant did not consent to the use of force by the Accused.
If the Court is not satisfied that each of the elements of the offence have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the Accused is entitled to an acquittal.