What happens when you call the police?

  1. Police Officers will respond to your call for service.
  2. A report may be made in person at any Police Station.
  3. An investigation will be conducted by Police Officers.
  4. You may be required to attend a Police Station to provide a video statement.
  5. If reasonable grounds exist the Police will lay charges. If the accused is at the scene, in most cases, the accused will be arrested and charged. If the accused is not present, attempts will be made to locate and arrest the accused. If the accused cannot be found, a warrant for the accused's arrest will be obtained. The victim will be advised by a Police Officer that the accused has been arrested. In either case, when arrested, the accused will be advised that it is the Police laying the charge, not the victim.  Sometimes and accused is arrested and released with a promise to appear with conditions. Other times the accused is arrested and held in custody until a bail hearing.  The type of release is determined by the Officer in charge. In either case, release conditions will be given to the victim.
  6. Conditions of bail will be discussed with you to ensure your concerns are addressed. The final decision about the conditions of release is made by a Judge or a Justice of the Peace.
  7. Should you need immediate intervention for yourself or to assist child witnesses of domestic violence, you can request the police to call their Victim Services Branch to respond to the scene or police station. Victim Services will assist you and your family by offering crisis intervention and referrals to community agencies.
  8. Police Officers will offer you and your children a place of safety.
  9. When charges are laid, police will provide you with a blank Victim Impact Statement.
  10. You will be told when the accused is released from custody and advised of the bail conditions.
  11. The Bail Safety Program is comprised of the Victim/Witness Assistance program and Detectives from the Hamilton Police Service. They will contact a victim within 24 hours to discuss the court process and to provide information regarding the Bail Hearing.  The Victim/Witness Assistance program can assist a victim to prepare a Victim Impact statement.
  12. If the accused pleads not guilty and the case proceeds to trial, you will receive a subpoena to appear in court. You must go to court. You should notify the Investigating Officer immediately if you change your address and phone number.
  13. The Crown Attorney will present the case in court. You are a complainant in the criminal process. You do not need a lawyer.
  14. When charges are laid, police will provide you with a blank Victim Impact Statement.
  15. If you have any questions or require further assistance regarding the investigation of your case you may contact the Investigating Officer, The Family Violence Resource Unit or the Victim Services Branch. If you have any questions regarding the court system you may contact the Victim Witness Assistance Programme.
Victim Services Branch 905-546-4904
Victim/Witness Assistance Programme 905-645-5272
Family Violence Resource Unit



Reasonable Grounds

A set of circumstances, which would satisfy an ordinary, cautious and prudent person, that there is reason to believe an offence has been committed. The belief must go beyond mere suspicion.

Reasonable Grounds can be established by obtaining witness statements, the existence of physical injuries, other physical evidence such as broken or damaged furniture or other signs of a disturbance.

Private Complaints

When Police Officers have not formed reasonable grounds that an offence has been committed and no charges have been laid; the victim of the crime may make a private complaint.

Individuals may go before a Justice of the Peace to request that a charge be laid on their behalf. Call to make an appointment at the The John Sopinka Court House at (905)645-5252.

You will need the Police occurrence number when you make this appointment.

Restraining Orders

  • Section 48 of the Family Law Act
    • A restraining order is an order or direction issued by the Ontario Court of Justice, Family Division. This can stop a spouse or former spouse from molesting, annoying, harassing or communicating with his or her spouse, former spouse or the children in his or her lawful custody.
  • Obtaining a Restraining Order
    • To obtain a restraining order you should consult with a family lawyer. Unfortunately, the Police cannot assist you in obtaining this type of Order.
    • Once you have a restraining order and believe the Order is being breached, you should contact the Police for further help.

Immigration Status

Your Immigration status in Canada will not automatically be affected by POLICE INTERVENTION. If you have questions concerning your status, call the Canadian Immigration Office inquiries line at 572-2787 or get independent legal advice from a lawyer specializing in Immigration Law.