Canadian Journal of Family Law


Haya Sakakini

First Page


Document Type

Allan Falconer Memorial Student Essay


This research paper investigates a particular form of family violence (“FV”) under the British Columbia Family Law Act (FLA): psychological abuse. The paper defines the scope and assessment of psychological abuse claims in family law courts (“courts”) in British Columbia since 2013. It identifies the shortcomings in addressing such claims and analyzes the multifaceted reasons behind the limitations and gaps which victims of psychological abuse face when bringing forward such claims.

The paper provides a brief background on FV and psychological abuse before moving on to identifying the various forms of psychological abuse accepted by courts in BC, as well as the barriers to adequately responding to psychological abuse claims. The paper emphasizes the importance of addressing these barriers and concludes that despite efforts to address psychological abuse through legislation, barriers remain, which must be addressed to better serve victims in courts.