Domestic Violence: Getting a Protective Order
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A violent relationship puts you and your children at risk for injury and even death. Getting a protective order (also called a restraining order, emergency intervention order, peace bond, or emergency protective order) is a step you can take to help keep you and your children safe.
To get a protective order:
- Call your local advocacy group, a law office, or tell the police you want to get one. You may be able to get an emergency protection order immediately. For a temporary protective order, you will probably have to see a family court judge.
- Tell the judge about times you have been threatened with violence or have suffered abuse. List any witnesses, including police officers, who may help your case.
- Show the judge any evidence of physical abuse, such as photos of bruises, injuries, or damaged property.
- Tell the judge about any prior arrests the abuser has had, or obtain the arrest reports. You may be able to get these from the police department or sheriff's office in the community where past abuse occurred.
To be eligible for a protective order, you and the other party must fit into at least one of the following categories:
- Married, or formerly married
- Related by blood, marriage, or adoption
- Currently living together or must have formerly lived together
- Currently or formerly in a dating relationship
- The parents in common of minor children
For a protective order to work effectively, you must:
- Inform the court of your specific safety needs, including when you are at work, those of your children, and any other particular circumstances.
- Request custody and visitation restrictions or "no contact" orders to ensure your children's safety.
- Call the police every time the order is violated.
If you travel to another province, check to see whether your protective order is valid in that province. Protective orders are valid across some province lines. Protective orders remain in effect until they are removed by the court, even if the victim consents to contact with the abuser.
Check your local phone book or provincial website for resources on getting help in your area.
Current as of: October 20, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Brigid McCaw MD, MS, MPH, FACP - Family Violence Prevention
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