Family Violence

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I apply for a protection order from my partner?

    If you have been the victim of domestic violence or stalking you can apply for a protection order without notice to your partner. You can either go to the local court office and ask to speak to a magistrate about a protection order, or speak to a lawyer about applying for an order on your behalf. You will be required to submit written information about your partner’s behaviour and why you fear for your safety.

  • How do I apply to set aside a protection order?

    You must apply within 20 days of being served with a protection order to set aside the protection order. You need to file a Notice of Application and Affidavit at the court office where the order was granted.

    Court forms can be obtained at the Law Courts Building at 408 York Avenue in Winnipeg or online at

  • Where can I obtain court forms for Manitoba?

    Court forms can be obtained at the Law Courts Building at 408 York Avenue in Winnipeg or online at

  • If I leave my partner, can I take the children with me?

    If you and your partner lived together after the birth of the children, you are presumed to have equal rights to your children, unless a parenting order says otherwise. In a crisis situation, you may take the children if you think it’s best for them, but be sure to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you can’t take your children with you when you leave, you should see a lawyer immediately about applying for a parenting order. If you delay, the court may not want to change the children’s situation. The court must do what is the best for the children, and stability is very important for children.

  • If I leave because of domestic violence, what should I take with me?

    Examples of useful things to bring:

      • Identification for you and your children, such as birth certificates, your social insurance number, driver’s license, immigration papers, or treaty card
      • Legal documents, such as your mortgage or lease or information about loans or assets that you have
      • Keys for your house, car, or safety deposit box
      • Personal items like clothing and toiletries
      • Things for your children, like clothing, favourite toys, medicine, diapers, or bottles
  • I have decided to call the police the next time my spouse abuses me. What should I tell the police when I call?

    Tell them that you are being threatened or attacked. Tell them whether the attacker is there or whether you think the attacker will come back. The police must know how urgent the call is. Try to speak clearly and give your name, address, and phone number. They will want to know:

      • If your life is in danger,
      • If you are injured,
      • If there are children present,
      • If there are any weapons being used or if some are easily available,
      • If there is any liquor or drugs involved, and
      • If the attacker is still there, or where the attacker is.
  • What will the police do when they arrive after a complaint of domestic violence?

    When the police arrive, they will make sure you and your children are safe. They will help you to get transportation to a doctor or hospital if you need it. They will separate you and your partner and ask each of you what happened. They will ask you about past abuse. They will provide an interpreter if you need one. The police will also give you information about counselling services and crisis line phone numbers. The police will look for visible signs of violence. Give the police the names of anyone who saw the violence or heard threats. If there are any weapons in the house, tell them. The police may seize weapons used in the assault, or other weapons that may be in the house. The police will ask how they can contact you, so that they can give you information about their investigation. It is important to give the police one or more phone numbers where they can reach you or a contact person for you.

  • Will the police arrest my partner?

    Domestic violence is a crime. Even if there are no witnesses or physical injuries, your partner or ex-partner can be charged. In Manitoba, police must lay charges in domestic violence cases if they have reason to believe that a criminal offence has happened.

  • Do I have to lay the charges against my partner myself?

    No. The police will lay the charges when they have reasonable grounds to believe a crime has been committed.

  • If charges are laid against my partner for domestic assault, can I later have the charges dropped?

    No. You are not able to just drop the charges yourself. For such consideration, you must first contact the Victim Services Domestic Violence Unit at (204) 945-6851 or 1-866-484-2846 (toll-free outside of Winnipeg). They will listen to your concerns and opinions regarding the charge and prosecution and they will then provide the Crown Attorney with a report. In the end, the Crown Attorney will decide whether to prosecute or to drop the charges.

  • Will charges be dropped if my partner and I get back together after the charge is laid?

    The Crown Attorney may proceed with the charges anyway. Reconciling or making up with your partner or ex-partner will not automatically end the court process. The Attorney General has given the Crown Attorney the power to decide whether the charge will go to court, even if the couple reconciles.

  • If my partner assaults me and it goes to court, will I need my own lawyer?

    In general, you do not need your own lawyer for the criminal charges against your partner or ex-partner. Although you are the victim of the crime, it’s the Crown Attorney, on behalf of the Province of Manitoba, who prosecutes the charges. You may need a lawyer in certain situations. If you think you will have to answer any questions in court that may incriminate you, you should contact a lawyer. Incriminating questions involve facts about your own actions that may have been criminal.

  • If my partner wants to plead guilty will there be a trial?

    No. A trial is needed only if the accused person pleads not guilty. If your partner or ex-partner pleads guilty, the court will proceed directly to a sentencing without holding a trial.

  • What part does the victim play in a trial?

    The victim’s role in a trial is to be a witness for the Crown Attorney, and give evidence about the crime committed against you. Witnesses receive a subpoena – a court order to appear in court. A subpoena does not mean you are being charged with a crime. The subpoena will be delivered to you personally. It will tell you the crime that the accused has been charged with, and when and where you must appear in court.

    If you fail to appear in court when you have been served with a subpoena, a warrant may be issued for your arrest, and you may also be charged with contempt of court.

  • I am supposed to testify against my ex-partner, but I can’t reach the Crown Attorney handling the case. Is there anyone else I can contact for updates and information?

    Victim/Witness Assistance can provide updates on the status of the case, pass on concerns about the case to the Crown Attorney, and assist you with court preparation. They can be contacted at (204) 945-3594 or 1-866-635-1111.

  • Is it difficult to convict someone accused of domestic assault?

    In court, a person is innocent until proven guilty. Your partner or ex-partner does not have to prove they are innocent and does not have to give evidence in their defence.

    If your partner or ex-partner pleads not guilty, they will not be convicted unless guilt is proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt – even if you know you have been abused. It is the Crown Attorney’s job to present evidence strongly enough to convince the judge that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Often, in cases of domestic violence, there are no witnesses to the crime. The only evidence is your story against your partner or ex-partner’s story.

    An acquittal (a finding of “not guilty”) does not mean that the judge doesn’t believe you. It just means that the judge didn’t have enough evidence to find the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Can my ex-partner be ordered to pay me spousal support because of domestic abuse?

    Orders for spousal support are based only on your financial need and your ex-partner’s ability to pay. They are not used as a form of punishment. A judge deciding on a support order will only consider the behaviour of a partner during the relationship if it has impacted on an individual’s ability to work. Section 4(2) of The Family Maintenance Act says that the court does not consider conduct in determining whether to order spousal support.

  • Can I be compensated if I was hurt during a domestic assault?

    There is a program called the Compensation for Victims of Crime Program that assists victims of crime with expenses related to the crime. You may be compensated for the following:

      • Medical expenses
      • Damaged clothing
      • Items seized by police as evidence
      • Dental expenses
      • Eyeglasses
      • Counselling
      • Lost wages
      • Support for dependants
      • Rehabilitation or retraining
      • Compensation for permanent disability
      • Funeral expenses

    The Compensation for Victims of Crime Program can be reached by calling (204) 945-0899, toll free at 1-800-262-9344, or online at

  • Can I apply for compensation if a family member passed away because of a domestic violence incident?

    If a member of your immediate family was killed as a result of a crime, you may be able to seek compensation. For more information, contact the Compensation for Victims of Crime Program.

  • A young child has contacted me with concerns about their treatment in the care of Child and Family Services (CFS). Who can I contact for assistance?

    The Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth (MACY) provides support and advocacy for individuals involved in the Child and Family Services system. They can be contacted at (204) 988-7440 or 1-800-263-7146. They are located at 100 – 346 Portage Avenue.