The law is generally divided into two categories — Civil law and Criminal law. Civil law covers any negligent act that brings harm to others or to any dispute between private citizens. Civil cases are more into disputes and when parties could not reach an agreement.
Criminal law, on the other hand, refers to any act with the intention to harm others. Criminal cases refer to offenses against the law. For instance, any break in the Criminal Code of Canada, federal or provincial codes are considered crimes. So what are the offenses that fall under the Criminal Code? The following is an overview of the Canadian Criminal Code:
I. Physical Abuse (all forms)
• Aggravated Assault
Any act that causes bodily harm to a person is considered aggravated assault. The act may wound, disfigure, maim or endanger the life of the victim.
Assault refers to direct or indirect force applied to a person without his consent. It also includes any attempt to apply force to a person whether or not a weapon (or an imitation thereof) is present.
• Assault causing bodily harm or assault with a weapon
Any act that causes bodily harm with the presence of a weapon or an imitation thereof is included under this form of physical abuse.
• Counseling or aiding suicide
Any act that helps a person commit suicide is against this law.
• Criminal negligence
Any act or the failure to do a dutiful act which causes the safety or the life of a person is considered criminal negligence.
• Forcible confinement
Forcible confinement includes kidnapping, hostage taking, abduction, trafficking in persons as well as withholding travel documents.
• Killing by influence on the mind
Any act that influences the mind to cause death of a human being is under this code. It also includes any disease or disorder brought about by influence on the mind.
A person that causes bodily harm meant to cause death is considered murder. If a person does an act and is aware that it is likely to cause death commits murder.
• Murder reduced to manslaughter
An act that results to death of a person but with reasonable provocation is considered manslaughter. “Crimes of passion” are also under this code.
• Unlawfully causing bodily harm
Unlawfully causing bodily harm is similar to aggravated assault. Any act that causes wounds, disfigurement or harm to a person life is classified under this code.
II. Psychological or Emotional abuse
Harassment refers to any verbal act / threat to cause harm, injury or death to a person or to an animal owned by the person. Any threat to destroy, burn or damage a person’s property is also considered harassment.
• Intimidation and Threats
Any act that uses threats to prevent a person or a relative of that person from a doing a lawful thing is considered intimidation. It also includes following a person, watching the person’s residence or workplace, obstructing the way of the person and hiding / preventing a person from using any of his owned property (ex. clothes, tools, and car).
III. Financial abuse or exploitation
• Criminal Breach of Trust
It refers to any act with the intent to defraud or contravene. Persons liable are those that are trusted with anything by another person, charitable organization or by the public.
Any act with the intent to obtain anything without any reasonable excuse and with the use of violence, threat, menace or accusation is considered extortion.
The creation of false document is considered forgery.
Any intentional deception with the intent to gain anything (mostly money) or damage another individual is considered fraud.
Theft refers to the act of permanently taking away anything belonging to a person or an organization without the latter’s knowledge. It is different from robbery which can be defined as the act of taking away anything of value with the use of violence, threat or presence of a weapon or an imitation thereof.
• Theft by person holding power of attorney
Any fraudulent sale committed by a person holding a power of attorney for sale, mortgage or disposition of property commits theft by person holding power of attorney.
• Criminal Negligence
Any person who fails to do anything or in doing anything results to bodily harm and death commits criminal negligence.
• Failure to provide necessaries
Everyone has the legal duty to provide the necessaries of life for their children, spouse, common law partner, a person under his charge and for his own self.
V. Sexual Abuse
• Aggravated sexual assault
A person who sexually assaults another and in the process injures, maims, wounds, disfigures or endangers the life of that person is liable for aggravated sexual assault.
A person who had sexual intercourse with a known blood relative commits incest.
• Sexual Assault
Any involuntary sexual act or any sexual contact without consent is considered sexual assault.
• Sexual Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm
Sexual assault accompanied by threat or bodily harm and with the presence of a weapon or an imitation thereof.
In order for a person to be accused of a certain crime, more evidence is needed to prove such crime compared to cases under the civil law. In order for a person to be convicted of a crime, prosecutors must prove that the said person is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, meaning, persons suspected of committing crimes can never be imprisoned or convicted unless substantial proof is presented in court.