An Emergency Protection Order is a provincial court order which generally prohibit the respondent from contacting or coming anywhere near the claimant and their family members. For an EPO to be granted a judge or justice of the peace must be satisfied that family violence has occurred, that the claimant has reason to believe that the respondent will continue or resume carrying out family violence, and that by reason of seriousness or urgency the order should be granted to provide for the immediate protection of the claimant and other family members who reside with the claimant.
Critically, EPOs are granted without notice the respondent. The respondent finds out about the order when contacted by the police and given a copy. This can be very frightening, especially when one was not expecting it.
If you get served with and EPO you must follow the terms of the EPO. Violation of an EPO is a criminal offense. So even if you disagree with the basis for the EPO you must do as ordered or risk serious consequences.
Some of the common terms are below, with some common ways that people mess up:
No contact, direct or indirect. If it says “do not contact” that means by any means – don’t call, text, email, facebook message, or write a letter. And don’t have your friend do so on your behalf.
Stay X meters away from a person, or some place. If you walk into a room and see the person turn around and walk out. If the person comes to you, move away (but document what happened!). If you have to stay 300 meters away from a place then get a map, measure out a circle, and don’t go into that circle for any reason.
If you contest the EPO you will have the chance to tell your side of the story. There will be a review date on the Order which you will have to attend if you want to object to the EPO. It is a very good idea to get some legal advice well in advance of that review date.
If you have been served with an EPO or are considering applying for one we’d be glad to help. Contact us today.