What is PAR Program?
If you are charged with a domestic offence in Toronto or elsewhere in Ontario, you may be required or requested to complete the PAR (Partner Assault Response Program).
A charged individual typically enters the PAR program because of an agreement between your lawyer and the Crown counsel. Upon the completion of PAR, the agreement could result in the withdrawal of the charges, a withdrawal of the charges after you enter a peace bond (s. 810 or common law), a non-criminal record conviction (absolute or conditional discharge), or one of the criminal record sentences.
What Happens at the PAR Program?
PAR is a 12-week group educational and counselling program focused on domestic violence, and non-abusive ways of resolving conflict. The program is open to people who:
- Have been criminally charged with a domestic violence offence, for example assault of an intimate partner;
- Are at least 18 years old;
- Have been ordered by the court to attend the program; and,
- Are willing to accept some responsibility for their actions.
The purpose behind the program is to rehabilitate the individual by providing them with the necessary tools and appropriate behavioural responses to ensure they do not return before the courts on another domestic related charge.
What Happens if I do not Want to Participate in PAR?
On occasion, a charged individual can do individual counselling which has its advantages since it can be completed at your own pace and can accommodate your schedule. So, there are possibly other options to PAR, if the Crown is agreeable.
Participating in upfront counselling is optional so you can decide to forego that option. If PAR is ordered after a conviction, and during your sentencing hearing, it would be a condition of your probation to complete PAR. If you do not successfully complete PAR, you could be charged with breaching a term of the probation order which is a further criminal offence.
I Did Nothing Wrong So Why Should I Participate in PAR?
Unless the Court has ordered you to complete PAR, you are not required to enter and complete the program. You are always allowed to decline completing upfront work and try to resolve your criminal charges without having to participate in the program. If this does not work, your matter can be set for trial wherein the Crown would have to prove that you committed the offence against you (i.e. assault, sexual assault, or mischief under $5,000.00).
Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh represents people across Ontario charged with domestic offences. This ranges from assaults to domestic homicides (murders). If you or a loved one is charged with a domestic offence, please contact the lawyers at Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh at 416-613-0416 for a consultation.