Peace Bonds and Violence Against Women: A Three-Site Study of the Effect of Bill C-42 on Process, Application and Enforcement

3. Purpose

The purpose of this study is to assess the effect of Bill C-42 amendments (February 15th, 1995) on the application and enforcement of Criminal Code section 810 (and 811) recognizances (otherwise known as ‘peace bonds’).  In particular, the research focuses on attempting to ascertain whether there have been changes in the processing, availability and enforcement of peace bonds in cases of intimate or spousal violence.

In order to get both a snapshot of practices by judicial, legal and law enforcement personnel at the local level, as well as overall national trends, it was decided that the project should analyse statistics at the national level as well as examine three specific sites in more detail.  The selected cities:  Halifax, Hamilton and Winnipeg, were chosen not only because they represented three different regions of the country but also because of data availability and other logistical considerations.

In subsequent sections, this report:

  1. outlines the legal background for this study by describing the 1995 amendments to sections 810 and 811 of the Criminal Code;
  2. describes the methodological approaches taken to research the use and enforcement of peace bonds;
  3. explains the limitations to the particular local and national databases for analysing trends in peace bond issuances and breaches; and
  4. relates the findings on both a city-by-city and national basis.

While this report aims to identify the effects of Bill C-42 on peace bond issuances, breaches, enforcement and judicial practices, it also examines general longitudinal and descriptive information on peace bond handling in both intimate and non-intimate relationships.  Official national data do not differentiate between intimate and non-intimate relationships for peace bond charges, but neither do the amendments to sections 810 and 811 specifically identify intimate relationships as a target group for intervention and thus also apply to the general population of cases.