Best Practices where there is Family Violence (Criminal Law Perspective)

1. Executive Summary

Purpose of the Project

This report is intended to focus on best practices related to cases making their way through the criminal justice system, where there are multiple proceedings – including family law and/or child protection proceedings. The goal is to identify practices that promote the safety of all family members while ensuring a fair process for the accused person.

The Research Approach

The best practices highlighted in the report were identified through a literature review, personal experience and interviews with practitioners, judges and child protection authorities. The challenges presented by the intersection of criminal, family and child protection proceedings have been examined and discussed by both academics and practitioners. They have also been highlighted in the case law. In this report, we attempt to review and build on the current research and writing in respect of how the criminal and family justice branches respond to issues of family violence.


Practices that best promote the safety of the family while ensuring a fair process for an accused person depend on effective information sharing between criminal and family courts and the availability of appropriate legal advice and/or information for complainants, accused persons, family law litigants and child protection authorities.