Criminal Offences that Capture Harm Related to The Violence Link

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Location: Chelsea Hotel, Churchill Ballroom

Mandy MacLeod, Alberta Crown Prosecutor

The co-occurrence of harm to people and animals often goes unrecognized by the criminal justice system. Survivors cannot report crime and gain the protection of the law if they don't know something criminal may have occurred. Front-line professionals cannot assist survivors to that end without awareness of what may constitute a criminal act. In this presentation I will examine criminal offences that capture harms related to the Violence Link. Some offences are obvious and well-known, such as assault and cruelty to animals. But, a creative approach reveals that lesser known criminal offences may also be engaged. I advocate for an innovative approach to the current classification of animals as property, which uses that classification to capture abuse. The presentation is designed to help professionals across sectors identify when a crime may have occurred and thereby assist survivors in reporting crime (should they so desire). I will also propose changes to our criminal law to better capture offences concerning the Violence Link.


  1. Identify and understand well-known criminal offences are engaged by the Violence Link
  2. Identify and understand lesser known offences that may be implicated
  3. Articulate how our criminal law could be changed to better capture offences relating to the co-occurrence of harm to people and animals.

Mandy MacLeod is a Crown prosecutor specializing in family protection: the prosecution of the abuse of intimate partners, children, the elderly, and animals. Mandy is a proud member of the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty Steering Committee and the Canadian Violence Link Coalition. She is excited to be at the table during the formation of Edmonton's Animal Protection Task Force. Check out her TEDxTalk entitled, "Protect Pets, Protect People: Time for Legal Change" for more info and for several glamorous photographs of her beloved cat Smudge.