What you need to know when seeking a protective order

Applying for a protective order following episodes of domestic violence is an important step for victims. This type of order serves to help a victim of domestic violence feel secure by restricting their interactions with the accused abuser or aggressor. In order to be granted a protective order, you need to prove that harm was suffered or there's a possibility of it happening again. Your criminal or family attorney can help you prove these elements.

Definition of family or domestic violence

Family or domestic violence is an act by a member of a household or family meant to physically or emotionally injure another member. In this case, family implies blood relatives, relatives by marriage, foster parents or two individuals in a dating relationship.

How a Protection Order works

An applicant is the individual who through their family attorney applies for a protection order. The order protects the applicant and any kids involved. The respondent is the individual who is inflicting harm. The order protects the applicant from the respondent and other people cited on the order also known as associated respondents.

A protective order can be awarded if the applicant can prove:

  • Family violence had happened in the past
  • A strong possibility family violence will happen in the future

The most crucial piece of proof in establishing family evidence is the victim's testimony. Other proof of abuse may include witness testimony from other household members. These witnesses may not necessarily have witnesses the actual abuse, however could have seen the after effects, including fearful behaviour, bruising or broken bones. Additionally, police reports, witness statements from law enforcement authorities who responded to the distress calls, hospital records, torn clothing, pictures of injuries and pictures of destroyed property could be used by the petitioner's attorney to prove mistreatment or the intimidation of abuse.

If you're the victim of domestic violence and require protective order, a criminal or family law attorney can come in handy in terms of bringing the matter to the attention of the relevant authorities on your behalf. Here are some questions you should discuss with your attorney when contemplating filing for a protective order.

  • Can the current behavior of the respondent support an application for a restraining order?
  • What forms of evidence will you require to present before the judge in order to be granted a protection order?
  • What actions should I take to stay safe as I await the determination of my protection order request?