THE ROLE OF SECTION 718.2(a)(ii) IN SENTENCING FOR MALE INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Keywords:domestic violence, section 718.2(a)(ii), sentencing, non-custodial sentences, sexual assault, indigenous, spouse, common-law relationship, intimate relationship, criminal, victim, intimate partner violence
This article examines sentencing for male intimate partner violence against women since the 1996 enactment of s 718.2(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code, which requires that a spousal/common-law relationship between an offender and victim be considered an aggravating factor in sentencing. The article argues that, while in general appellate courts in Canada are taking this violence seriously, cases involving level I sexual assaults still demonstrate the longstanding tendency to treat the intimate relationship as mitigating. Further appellate guidance is necessary on how courts should reconcile s 718.2(a)(ii) with s 718.2(e), which requires that all options other than incarceration be considered when sentencing an Indigenous offender. The author argues that it is important for courts to at least consider the systemic problem of intimate violence against Indigenous women when sentencing male offenders in these cases.