Chapter 9: Criminal and Civil Law for Victims of Violence

Additional Recommended Readings

Calton, J., and L.B. Cattaneo (2014). The effects of procedural and distributive justice on intimate partner violence victims’ mental health and likelihood of future help-seeking. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 84(4), 329–340.

This study explores the experiences of 142 victims of intimate partner violence and their perceptions of procedural and distributive justice, and their mental health and intention to use the system again.

Hartley, C. C., L.M. Renner, and S. Mackel (2013). Civil legal services and domestic violence: Missed service opportunities. Families in Society, 94(1), 15–22.

This article describes the differences in focus and impact of criminal and civil legal interventions for domestic violence, provides an in-depth illustration of how civil legal services can address a myriad of needs for women who experience domestic violence, and addresses the role social workers can play in assisting clients in the civil legal process.

Relevant Legislation



British Columbia:


New Brunswick:

Newfoundland and Labrador:

Nova Scotia:

  • Domestic Violence Intervention Act, S.N.S. 2001, c. 29
  • Limitation of Actions Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 258
  • Victims’ Rights and Services Act, S.N.S. 1989, c. 14


Prince Edward Island:



Northwest Territories:


Yukon Territory:

Discussion Questions

  1. What rights do victims’ bills of rights afford and what protections should be expanded?
  2. What protections exist for a person who believes that someone will threaten or assault him or her in the future? Do these seem adequate?
  3. What should a victim consider before reporting a crime to the police?
  4. In what ways can a victim be compensated for crimes against him or her?