An Emergency Protection Order (“EPO”) is a court order intended to provide safety in cases of family violence in emergency situations. It is used to restrain a family member from being near you, contacting you, and attending your place of work or study. Children may be subject to EPOs in certain circumstances. Importantly, if an EPO is breached the party breaching the EPO may be charged criminally and arrested.
An EPO is issued by a Judge or a Justice of the Peace where immediate protection is needed as a result of family violence. Section 1 (1) (e) of the Protection Against Family Violence Act defines “family violence” as:
- Property damage
- Intimidation that causes a reasonable fear of property damage
- Intimidation that causes a reasonable fear of injury
- Forced confinement
- Sexual abuse
What is a Restraining Order?
A Restraining Order is an order which protects the complainant from a person or persons who were harassing or interfering in some aspect of the complainant’s life/business. Restraining Orders can be applied for regardless of the relationship with the complainant to cease contact/harassment.
If you breach a Restraining Order the Court can impose financial penalties, impose a finding of contempt, or confine you to jail for period of time.
What happens after an EPO is granted?
The responding party has the opportunity to respond to allegations made by the complainant against them within 9 days of the EPO being granted. This review takes place in the Court of Queen’s Bench. Upon review, the Court has the ability to vacate (remove it) or extend the EPO (keep in place). The Court has the direction to impose a less intrusive order such as a Restraining Order or No Contact Order, neither of which permit the breaching party to be criminally charged.
Emergency Protection Orders and Restraining Orders carry serious legal consequences if they are breached.
Contact the team at Foster LLP for legal advice, or for more information on Emergency Protection Orders and Restraining Orders.