Meet the Protection Orders…
In the red corner, weighing in at a healthy stack of paper is the Emergency Protection Order (“EPO”).
In the blue corner, weighing in at a slightly less healthy stack of paper is the Restraining Order (“RO”).
Our Honorable officiant is happily nicked named “Common Sense”.
Domestic violence, harassment, unwanted attention are all serious concerns. This article does not poke fun at these very serious topics. “Common Sense” just wants to have a say.
If you are fearful of your safety, or a victim of family violence, you are encouraged to call the police as soon as possible to establish a safety plan for you and any dependents currently in your care.
The Emergency Protection Order (EPO)
If you need a protection order then EPO is the right choice. EPO weighs in at a healthy stack of paper because the EPO has more punch.
The Protection Against Family Violence Act created the Emergency Protection Order and extended its powers to include:
- obtaining possession of a bank account, bank card, and vehicles
- dispensing consent for the purposes of obtaining counselling
- directing the payment of monies as compensation for destroyed property
The EPO does more, but:
- there must be domestic violence present
- an urgent need for protection, and
- you must be family members
When applying for an emergency protection order, you initially obtain the EPO ex-parte. This means the person you need protection from is not there when you make your initial application and does not know about the EPO.
The EPO is then reviewed 9 days later. The review is where the other person tells their side of the story.
In Alberta, we have the Edmonton Protection Order Program (“EPOP”). EPOP provides free legal services to assist victims of domestic violence to apply for an EPO. This includes free legal representation in Court for court dates (excluding Oral Hearings).
There is no financial eligibility requirement, so call EPOP if you need assistance.
The Restraining Order (RO)
Restraining Orders have been around for many years and are still used today. Restraining Orders have limited use because it simply prevents contact between the parties.
A restraining order can provide distance restrictions, such as being 100 metres away from the Applicant, but there is nothing else it can do.
Often times if you do not qualify for an EPO then it’s a good idea to try obtaining an RO. When applying for a restraining order, you must have a reasonable apprehension of fear and highlight behaviours that caused the fear.
At times you can obtain the RO ex-parte but a Judge needs to approve the ex-parte application. Often, you need to give notice of your RO application to the other party. There is no free service providing legal representation for the RO.
With the following link, you can obtain the Court forms required for a restraining order as well as basic information on the process.
Common Sense says:
Remember, Protection Orders are only part of the solution and are not meant as a permanent fix.
It is equally important to make Police reports and seek community support available through the Victim Services Units of the Edmonton Police Service or the RCMP.
If you have children together and are prevented from interacting or communicating because of contact orders or criminal charges resulting in a no-contact provision, you need dedicated third parties you can trust to help with the parenting duties.
Family law does not “suspend” parenting arrangements and decision making because there is an RO, EPO or criminal no-contact provisions.
It is best to obtain a Parenting Court Order containing specific clauses with safety in mind. For example:
- No communication between the parties when exchanging the children
- No entering or touching the other party’s vehicle during exchanges
- Exchanges to take place in public places and during business hours
- Bring a third party in the vehicle with you during exchanges of the children
- Use programs like Our Family Wizard, which keeps copies of written communications between the parties. The extended version moderates “tone” to prevent aggressive or threatening communications from being sent
- Setup specific parenting times for each parent to limit conversations about pick-up times and locations
If you are interested in learning more about these topics, contact Ramos Family Law for an initial consultation.
We would be happy to answer your questions and provide legal advice. Kindly note there is a fee for this consultation.
Please call (780) 761-1070 or fill out the inquiry form on our Contact Us page. We are happy to help you!