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Domestic violence refers to all forms of violence or threats of violence between current or former spouses or partners in a relationship, whether it be a marriage, common-law, or dating relationship. Everyone experiences anger, but not everyone chooses to be abusive towards others.
It can include physical, emotional, or economic threats, including threats to children, pets, property, stalking, harassment, and any other form of violence. Similarly, alcohol or drug usage does not cause abuse since not everyone who is under the influence becomes abusive.
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As a result, in the investigation of intimate partner/spousal abuse, police officers must lay charges where there is reasonable evidence that an offence took place.
The victim does not lay the charges, the police do, unlike other assaults not involving intimate partners.
With police laying the charges and not the victim, this takes the onus and blame off of the victim.
Before the pro-charge/arrest policy, it was not uncommon for victims to feel too fearful to ask police officers to press charges, and the abuser has at times threatened or intimidated the victim into not laying charges.