Intimate Partner Violence Courts

Locations: Duncan, Nanaimo, Kelowna, and Surrey, BC

BC’s first domestic or intimate partner violence court was a judge-led initiative opened in Duncan in 2009. A similar court was opened in Nanaimo in 2013 through the collaborative efforts of a local committee and judges. In 2014 and 2016 different models were launched in Kelowna and Surrey.

Specialized Work

These courts use different approaches.

  • In Duncan and Nanaimo the courts use a collaborative, therapeutic approach. Service providers attend court weekly to share information and coordinate services for victims and offenders.
  • The Kelowna court uses an “expedited case management” approach where intimate partner violence cases must be set for trial within 60 days. Particular days are scheduled for these cases, so they are given early trial dates and can proceed without delay.
  • In Surrey, all matters related to intimate partner violence charges other than trials are heard in one “front-end domestic violence courtroom”. The matters heard there include bail, applications to change bail, guilty pleas, and sentencing hearings taking not more than 30 minutes. Prosecutors are assigned to this courtroom for extended periods. Although service providers do not attend court in person, judges and lawyers use a collaborative, therapeutic approach.

More information

Cowichan Valley Domestic Violence Court, Duncan (eNews)
Nanaimo Domestic Violence Court (eNews)
Okanagan Trial Scheduling Initiative (eNews)
New remand courtroom in Surrey to deal only with domestic violence charges (eNews)