Can You Charge Someone for Verbal Abuse in Canada?

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Verbal abuse is a form of violence that can be a reason for your deep and long-lasting emotional damage. The legal system takes verbal abuse seriously in Canada, where a culture of civility and respect for others is highly valued.

But can you charge anyone for verbal abuse in Canada?

You will find all your answers in the following discussion.

What is Verbal Abuse?

Verbal abuse refers to using language to manipulate, frighten, humiliate, or control another person. This type of emotional abuse also includes physical violence. 

In Canada, verbal abuse is an offence, and criminal charges can be put against the abuser. There are specific laws that safeguard people in Canada from verbal abuse, such as the Criminal Code of Canada, which designates several forms of verbal abuse as a crime.

In such circumstances, the offender will face fines, detention, or other criminal charges.

What are the Types of Verbal Abuse?

Let’s learn the types of verbal abuse you may face from others.


With this form of verbal abuse, you will be made to feel less or unimportant with offensive or abusive language. It can damage your self-esteem and confidence and can create a hostile and toxic environment.

Yelling and Screaming

Such verbal abuse involves raising one’s voice to a frightening level to create fear or submission. It may result in distress to your mental health and contribute to helplessness, worry, and despair.


These involve using language to input fear in your mind, such as threatening physical harm or property damage. These words will make you feel threatened, which may create a sense of vulnerability in yourself.

Blaming and Accusing

It involves making false or exaggerated accusations against you to shift blame or responsibility for the offender’s actions. It can create feelings of guilt, shame, and self-doubt and make you question your judgment and decision-making abilities.


It is all about manipulating your perception of reality through denial, distortion, or manipulation of facts or events. It can be particularly insidious, as you may begin to doubt your own memory and perception of events.


This verbal abuse involves using language to embarrass or shame you, often in front of others, in order to assert power or control over them. It can particularly damage your self-esteem and create feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy.

Criticizing and Mocking

Here the abuser offers constant criticism or makes fun of your behaviour, appearance, or personality to lower your self-esteem and confidence. It can create feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, and low self-worth in you, and it can be particularly harmful when it comes from someone you trust or love.

What is the Punishment for Verbal Abuse in Canada?

Depending on the seriousness of the conduct and how it affected you, several penalties for verbal abuse can be imposed in Canada.

Some types of verbal abuse are punishable by law in Canada under the Criminal Code, and the offender will face penalties. The offender may get a fine, jail sentence, or other punishments could be imposed for making threats or harassing someone unlawfully.

Depending on the type and volume of verbal abuse, as well as how it affected you, will determine how severe the punishment will be. Further legal safeguards and repercussions can apply if the abuse occurs within a domestic partnership.

What Can You Do If You are Accused of Verbal Abuse in Canada?

If you are accused of verbal abuse in Canada, you must do the following to protect yourself from any upcoming complexity.

Take the Accusations Seriously

Verbal abuse can have serious emotional and psychological impacts on the victim, even if it does not rise to the level of a criminal offence. So, you must take the accusations seriously and acknowledge any harm you could have possibly committed.

Seek Legal Advice

If the accusations rise to the level of a criminal offence, you can seek legal advice from a criminal defence lawyer. They can help you understand your legal rights and options and represent you in court if necessary.

Consider Counseling or Other Forms of Intervention 

Verbal abuse can be a symptom of more serious difficulties, like interpersonal challenges or anger control. To address these concerns and stop the abuse from continuing, think about getting help from a counsellor or other types of support.

Cooperate with Any Legal Proceedings 

You must cooperate with legal proceedings if you face accusations and follow any possible court orders or limits.

Apologize and Make Amends 

You can apologize to the victim and make apologies as necessary if you are accused of verbal abuse. It may require you to go to counselling, make restitution, or do anything else to make up for the hurt that was done.

What is the Defense If You are Accused of Verbal Abuse in Canada?

There aren’t many arguments that can be used if you’re charged with verbal abuse in Canada to excuse or justify the actions. Any situation in which verbal abuse occurs must be condemned as it is hurtful and perhaps unlawful. 

Yet, in specific situations, one may be able to assert certain legal defences as below:


A justification for self-defence can be made if the alleged verbal abuse was delivered in response to a threat or violent act. But, the amount of force must be proportionate to the actual threat.

Lack of Intent 

In some situations, you can say that you did not mean to do so or that the alleged behaviour resulted from a misunderstanding or a breakdown in communication.

Mental Incapacity 

A mental disease or impairment that affects the accused’s capacity to comprehend the nature and implications of their behaviour can be used as a defence.

To Wrap Up

Even though there are not many legal justifications for verbal abuse, it can never be an acceptable activity. You must find healthy ways of communicating by yourself and resolving conflict in relationships.

Canadian law sends a strong message that this behaviour is accountable for punishment. Yet, if you are falsely accused or a victim, consult an expert lawyer to get out of the miseries you have been going through for the accusation or the abuse.

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