Restraining Orders are available to anyone who experiences harassment, threats, or physical violence from another person against themselves or against their property. Restraining Orders can be granted for the first time without giving the other party notice that you are getting the restraining order. However, once the restraining order is obtained, there will be another court date assigned where the case would be reviewed and the other side can be given the opportunity to present their side of the story.
An Emergency Protection Order (EPO) is a specific kind of restraining order that you can only obtain against family members. Family members are defined for the purposes of EPOs as being:
- is related to you by blood, marriage or adoption, including adult children and in-laws;
- you are (or were) married to;
- you are (or were) in a common-law (adult interdependent) relationship with;
- you live with (or lived with) in an intimate relationship;
- you have children with, regardless of whether you lived together or were married; or
- you have parenting time with or guardianship of.
If any of the above-mentioned categories apply to you, you probably have grounds to apply for an EPO. To apply for an EPO you will explain your situation to a Judge or to a Justice of the Peace, and if that person believes that:
- violent or threatening behaviour occurs between family members;
- there is evidence that immediate protection is necessary;
- and a risk that family violence will resume or continue.
Then that person can grant the EPO, which acts like a restraining order. The other party will then be given notice of the EPO and have a chance to respond to it at the review date of the EPO. If after the review, the Court determines that the EPO is necessary, then it can Order for the EPO to continue for a period of up to 1 year.
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Do restraining orders and protection orders actually work?
Yes, restraining orders and protection orders exist to help someone who fears for their safety due to another person’s actions or behaviours. Usually, they are police enforceable, which means that if a person breaches a restraining or protection order, they can get in trouble with the police.
How do a protection and restraining orders work in Alberta?
Protection orders, pursuant to the Protection Against Family Violence Act, exist for people experiencing domestic violence and protect individuals from family members. Restraining orders exist for individuals who need protection from people who are not their family members. In Alberta, once they are granted, they exist so that the Respondent (the person who the order is issued against) is required to stop contacting the Claimant (the person who needs the order) along with any other terms that are ordered.
Does a protection or restraining order ruin your life?
If a protection or restraining order is made against you, then as long as you comply with it, it won’t ruin your life. If you get a protection or restraining order against somebody else, it will give you the protection that you need.