4. Contact a program if you have a case in family or criminal court

Criminal court

If your partner has been charged with a crime, the Victim Witness Assistance Program contacts you. This program helps by:

  • explaining the criminal court process and what you can expect as your partner's case moves ahead
  • giving you emotional support
  • referring you to community services and resources

The Ontario government has aVictim Services Directory that helps abuse victims find programs and services in their communities. You can also talk to an information and referral counsellor by calling the Victim Support Line at 1-888-579-2888.

If you have been charged with a crime, you can talk to the duty counsel lawyer at criminal court. Duty counsel can help you with your bail hearing and may be able to give you other legal advice about your case.

Family court

Whether or not you have a lawyer, you may find it helpful to work with a Family Court Support Worker. These are professionals trained to support people who’ve experienced domestic violence in family court.

Some of the things they can help you with are:

  • explaining the family court process to you
  • recording your history of abuse for court documents
  • making a safety plan
  • applying for legal aid
  • getting the documents your lawyer asks for
  • discussing what happened in court and at meetings with lawyers, Family Law Information Centre staff, and duty counsel so you know what to do next
  • speaking with or referring you to services available in the community or in family or criminal court
  • go with you to court, if needed

Family Support Court Workers services are free and are available in every family court in Ontario.

If you need help finding a Family Support Court Worker, call the Victim Support Line toll-free at 1-888-579-2888.

You may need