In British Columbia, restraining orders are known as Protection Orders. These court orders are made by a judge to help protect one person from another and typically list conditions the individual has to follow relating to contact with, or distance they must remain from, the other party.
There are two main types of protection orders in British Columbia:
Handled under the Criminal Code of Canada, a peace bond can be granted to protect an individual from another individual. A lawyer isn’t needed to apply for a peace bond. Instead, it’s handled by local police or RCMP officers. If an application for a peace bond proceeds, Crown counsel will be involved. If it proceeds to a court hearing, it will be held in a criminal court rather than a family law court.
Family Law Protection Order
Administered under the BC Family Law Act, a Family Law Protection Order is designed to protect a family member from another family member. It can be applied to a partner, former partner, a child’s parent/guardian or any other relative. Like many other cases in family law it does not require the involvement of the criminal justice system. A Family Law Protection Order can be applied for in the Provincial Court or Supreme Court. It’s recommended to consult with a family law expert before pursuing this course of action so you understand how the process works.
When is a Protection Order Necessary?
If an individual believes they, or their children, have been assaulted, harassed, stalked, threatened or had property damaged, this constitutes a crime and should be reported to the police.
If an individual believes they are in danger of any of the above they might consider applying for a protection order. The person identified in the protection order will be legally obliged to follow the conditions of the order. Failure to do so will lead to the police issuing a warrant for the individual’s arrest.
Protection Order Registry
Police across British Columbia have access to a confidential database called the Protection Order Registry. Protection Orders issued in our province are sent to this registry and entered the same day they are received. Police have constant access to this database and can obtain a copy of the order instantly. If you suspect an individual has broken a Protection Order, police will have easy access to the case file if needed.
Here to Help
Need advice with any aspect of the protection order process? At Westside, we’ve helped countless clients navigate this difficult time. Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.