Making the Links in Family Violence Cases: Collaboration among the Family, Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems

Annex 4: Family violence responses by jurisdiction - Saskatchewan

Legislative Responses

Family/Domestic Violence Legislation

The Victims of Domestic Violence Act - Persons who live together, or have lived together in a family or intimate relationship, or who have children together, are eligible to apply for an order under this Act. This includes spouses, common law spouses, same sex partners, children, parents, siblings and disabled persons. In this Act, domestic violence means:

Under this Act, the following orders and warrant can be issued:

i) Emergency Intervention Orders are short-term orders granted by a Justice of the Peace that can be obtained 24 hours a day for use in emergency situations. These orders can, for example, give the victim exclusive occupation of the residence; prevent the suspected abuser from contacting the victim or other family members; direct a police officer to remove the suspected abuser from the home; direct a police officer to assist the victim or suspected abuser to supervise the removal of personal belongings, etc.

ii) Victim’s Assistance Orders are granted by the Court of Queen’s Bench and are usually for non-emergency situations. These orders contain conditions similar to those for an Emergency Intervention Order, but are for a longer period of time. An order may, for example, direct the suspected abuser to pay for such things as temporary accommodation or legal expenses; give the victim temporary possession of items such as a vehicle or identification documents; prevent the suspected abuser from contacting the victim, family members, etc.

iii) Warrants of Entry can be requested by police officers when there is concern that a person who cannot act on his/her own is being subjected to domestic violence.

The Victims of Crime Act, 1995 forms the legislative basis for the Victims Services Program. The Act provides for the collection of a surcharge on provincial offences and creates a dedicated fund to support programs and services for victims. Revenue from the provincial and federal surcharge collection is referred to as the "Victims Fund" and is the sole source of income for the Victims Services Program, including compensation for victims of crime

In 2011 the Saskatchewan legislature passed The Victims of Crime Amendment Act, 2011, which will require police to provide to designated persons information about a victim that is prescribed in the regulations. The designated person shall use the victim’s information to contact the victim for the purpose of providing or facilitating the delivery of victims’ services. The Act has not yet been proclaimed as regulations must be developed in order to implement the new provisions.

The Missing Persons and Presumption of Death Act came into force on September 29, 2009 in response to recommendations of the Provincial Partnership Committee on Missing Persons. Under this Act a family member, other interested person, or the Public Guardian and Trustee may apply to the Court of Queen's Bench for an order declaring a person as missing and for appointment of a property guardian. The persons authorized to apply for the order declaring a person to be missing may also apply for an order declaring that the missing person is presumed to be dead. The Court may make a declaration of presumption of death if it is satisfied that: the person has been absent and not been heard from, or by, since a day named in the application; there is no reason to believe the person is living; and reasonable grounds exist to suppose he or she is dead.

Child Protection Provisions Related to Family Violence

Under The Child and Family Services Act, 2006 every person who has reasonable grounds to believe that a child is in need of protection shall report the information to an officer (child protection worker) or peace officer (police) (subsection 12(1)). A child in need of protection as a result of an action or omission of a child’s parent includes a child that has suffered or is likely to suffer physical harm or a child exposed to domestic violence or severe domestic disharmony (subsections 11(a)(i) and (vi)). The duty to report exists notwithstanding any claim of confidentiality or privilege other than solicitor-client privilege or Crown privilege.




Child Abuse Investigations



Domestic Violence (Partner Abuse) Policy

Public Prosecutions has a policy on Domestic Violence (Partner Abuse). The highlights of the policy are as follows:


Referrals to Victim Services

Child Protection

Service-Based Responses

Victim Services


There are ten provincially funded shelters for women and their accompanying children who are leaving circumstances of interpersonal violence and abuse. One is co-funded with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

These Transition Houses are owned and operated by legally incorporated non-profit organizations. Funding is provided to the organizations through the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General for the delivery of residential crisis services.

The population served includes women (18 years or older) and their accompanying children who are leaving circumstances of violence and abuse. Four of the Transition Houses also provide residential services to females who are 16 and 17 years of age and their accompanying children who are leaving circumstances of violence and abuse.

The nature of the service is twenty four hour, staffed emergency safe accommodation and support for women and women and children leaving an abusive and violent relationship. In addition to short-term safe shelter, services may include crisis and supportive counselling, child care and referrals to community services.

There are three additional off-reserve First Nations shelters in Saskatchewan for women and their children who are leaving circumstances of violence and abuse that are funded through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

Programs for Children Exposed to Family Violence

The Ministry of Justice and Attorney General through the Victim Services Branch provides support for Children Exposed to Violence Programs in Saskatchewan, to address the needs of children who are exposed to violence. The programs assist children and youth who have witnessed or experienced interpersonal violence or abuse, with a goal of preventing them from becoming victims or perpetrators of violence and abuse in the future. The programs are delivered by community-based service providers.

Abusive Partner Programs

The Ministry of Health provides funding for Alternatives to Violence (ATV) programs delivered through Mental Health and Addictions in the Health Regions. Currently, seven Health Regions provide ATV Programs.

Supervised Access

Supervised access is provided under the Family Justice Services - Supervised Access/Exchange Program:

Parent Education/Information

Child Education/Information

Other Services

Other services are operated by legally incorporated non-profit organizations that receive funding through the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General for the delivery of family violence outreach and sexual assault services.

Sixteen family violence outreach programs provide assistance to individuals (primarily women) and families living in violent or potentially violent circumstances. This includes direct services and support, public education on abuse and services available in the local community, and the development of support groups.

Eight sexual assault services provide direct support for victims of sexual assault (men, women and some children) including a twenty-four hour crisis telephone line, crisis counselling, support and accompanying individuals to medical, legal and social services appointments. Other services may include information, referral and education initiatives that contribute to the prevention of sexual assault.

Court-Based Responses

Domestic Violence Court

There are three domestic violence courts currently operating in Saskatchewan: the Battlefords Domestic Violence Treatment Options (BDVTO) Court; the Saskatoon Domestic Violence (SDV) Court; and the Regina Domestic Violence (RDV) Court. These therapeutic courts emphasize healing and provide an alternative to traditional court processes. Models for domestic violence courts vary, depending on the particular resources and needs of the community.

Participation in the DVC Treatment Option is open to all adult accused who are charged with domestic violence and are referred, by the Crown, to the Domestic Violence Court Treatment Option. Participation in the DVC Treatment Option is voluntary, and individuals have the right to plead not guilty, or to choose not to participate in the DVC Treatment Option. Individuals who do not participate in the DVC Treatment Option will proceed as they would though the regular court system.

If an offender successfully completes treatment, then a community-based sentence will most often be considered. Offender involvement in treatment is closely monitored to ensure compliance.

Resource people such as probation officers, counsellors from domestic violence treatment programs and addiction services, and victim services workers regularly attend court to provide assistance. They also meet with Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers outside of court to discuss offender progress in programming and behaviour, specific victims concerns, and plans for continued intervention or referral back to court for sentencing.

Tools/Processes to Ensure Safety

Coordinating Mechanisms