Criminal cases involving rape and domestic abuse are handled in criminal court. These cases involve prosecutors via the CPS who bring charges against the defendant, and the defendant is tried before a jury of his or her peers. The goal of criminal court proceedings is to determine guilt or innocence, with a potential sentence being handed down if the individual is found guilty.
Family courts may also handle cases involving rape and domestic abuse. These cases involve family members or close associates of the victim filing for civil remedies such as injunctive orders, contact cases or child maintenance payments. Unlike criminal court proceedings, family court proceedings do not result (usually) in prison time for the perpetrator; instead, they focus on providing victims with protection from further harm by making sure that perpetrators stay away from them and their children.
In some cases, both family courts and criminal courts will address rape and domestic abuse allegations simultaneously. This typically occurs when an individual is accused of committing a crime but does not have enough evidence to be convicted in criminal court. The victim can then turn to family court to seek civil remedies such as injunctions or child support payments that can provide them with financial security while protecting them from further harm by their abuser.
In addition to providing victims with legal protection from their abusers, family courts may also order perpetrators to DVIP as part of their work in order to address any underlying issues that may have contributed to their behaviour. This type of intervention can be especially beneficial for those who have committed serious abuse such as rape or domestic abuse.
The overlap between family courts and criminal courts when it comes to handling cases involving rape and domestic abuse is beneficial because it allows victims an additional avenue for seeking justice when traditional criminal proceedings cannot provide adequate protection for them due to lack of evidence requirements needed for conviction in a criminal setting. In addition, it provides an opportunity for perpetrators to receive intervention in some cases so they can learn how to better manage or change their behaviour without resorting to violence against others in the future.