Nova Scotia will soon be introducing the ‘Domestic Violence Court’ (DVC) located in the Halifax Provincial Courthouse. The aim of this new court is to stop the cycle of domestic violence by providing an alternative to the traditional court system in order to help individuals charged with offences involving domestic violence to change their behaviour and prevent future violence. The court also aims to provide support for families affected by domestic violence.
The court will service individuals from the Halifax Regional Municipality and matters will be heard in courtroom number 3 in the Halifax Provincial Courthouse.
If you are charged with an offence that involves domestic violence, you may be eligible to partake in the DVC process as an alternative to traditional provincial court.
Generally, if an individual is charged with an offence involving domestic violence, they can apply to have their matter heard in the DVC. The request will then be reviewed, and will either be accepted into the DVC or sent back to provincial court.
If accepted, the accused may be required to enter a guilty plea for the charge or otherwise accept responsibility for the offence committed. The prosecutor and the accused will enter into the DVC an ‘Agreed Statement of Facts,’ which are drafted taking into account the circumstances of the offence, input from the victim, and input from the accused.
The accused will then be required to partake in educational and/or therapeutic programs which address elements of domestic violence and aim to prevent an accused from becoming a repeat offender.
Nova Scotia currently has one DVC, operating in Sydney. The Halifax DVC will have some similar features to Sydney, however, the Department of Justice is making some changes in order to improve the function of the court and therefore, many details of the DVC are still being refined ahead of the first court sitting.
The DVC will be ceremonially opened on February 21, 2018, with the first day of court sitting on February 28, 2018.
If you need more information on the DVC or would like to discuss representation throughout the DVC process with one of our Lawyers please visit our Criminal Law page or contact one of our Criminal Law Lawyers: Terrance G. Sheppard, David Bright, Q.C., Brian Casey Q.C., Allison Reid or Geoff Franklin.