WORKING WITH BATTERED WOMEN: A Handbook for Health Care Professionals


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Obtaining Legal Protection


Initiate the Laying of an Assault Charge (see Appendix B for more information):

If the woman has been physically or sexually assaulted, she may wish to initiate procedures designed to offer her some legal protection from her abuser. The woman may wish to call the police and provide them with a statement about the assault that they could use to charge her partner criminally.

Requesting an Emergency Intervention Order:

The Victims of Domestic Violence Act came into force in Saskatchewan in February 1995. This provincial legislation is designed to provide a non-criminal remedy to victims of domestic violence. An Emergency Intervention Order is available under the Act twenty-four hours a day with the assistance of a police officer or mobile crisis worker. The officer or worker can provide information to a Justice of the Peace indicating that a domestic assault has occurred. The order can:

  • give a victim exclusive possession of the home;
  • restrain an abuser from communicating with or contacting the victim or the victim's family;
  • direct a peace officer to accompany the victim of the abuser to the home to supervise the removal of personal belongings.
These orders give abused women another choice—that of staying in their own homes. After all, why should she be the one who has to leave when he's the one who's responsible? However, if the police attend to help her ask for the Emergency Intervention Order, and there is enough evidence to lay criminal charges, they are obliged under the mandatory-charging directive to charge the abuser criminally.

Remember: Women who have been assaulted may not be willing to involve the police if they still see some hope for their relationship. Your responsibility is to advise her of the right to have criminal charges laid and assist her by calling the police is she requests it. Medical professionals should not call the police if the woman does not want them involved. She will likely refuse to provide the police with a statement when they arrive and you will have lost her trust and confidence. Or she may give a statement but not go to court to testify as a witness against her partner, in which case a bench warrant may be issued for her arrest. Or she may go to court to testify, but will tell the court that she lied to the police and then face charges of misleading a police officer. The Justice system is currently working hard for these things not to happen so the woman is not revictimized by the courts. There is a recognition that there are many reasons a woman may not want to press charges or may want them dropped, not the least of which is that she has been threatened by the abuser not to talk to the police or to testify.


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