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Myth of the Protection Order
subject to domestic violence (or violence in the context of any relationship)
may need protection from the perpetrator of violence.
protect oneself, one can go to a place of greater safety (no place is 100% safe,
although most women’s shelters offer a number of safeguards to provide a very
high degree of security.) If living together, the perpetrator of abuse may leave
voluntarily or may be required to leave the residence.
either case, stay or go, the target of abuse may apply to the court for a
Protection Order, also known as a Restraining Order. In a situation where a
perpetrator has been charged and/or convicted and is not incarcerated, a term of
release may also include stipulations such as found in the Protection Order,
which is to say the perpetrator may be ordered to:
intention of the Protection Order is to provide for the safety of the person
targeted by the perpetrator. However, like locks on doors, Protection Orders are
only as useful as they are followed by the person subject to the Order. Locks on
doors do not keep criminals bent on breaking into your home from entering.
Protection Orders do not keep perpetrators bent on perpetrating
unwanted/abusive/dangerous acts from behaving inappropriately.
put, some people subject to a Protection Order do not stop their abusive or
violent behavior, they just may become more sneaky about it.
are cautioned not to believe that a protection order actually provides
protection. It does not. It can in some instances improve the likelihood of
one’s safety, assuming the person subject to the Order actually follows the
a protection Order can do is provide some degree of recourse when a person acts
against the protection order. As such there can be a consequence to contravening
the Order, but not necessary a deterrent. If a person contravenes their
Protection Order, it is generally advisable to notify police immediately. Given
at least an opportunity of recourse in the event someone contravenes a
Protection Order, there is still value to the Protection Order.
who need or have a Protection Order to provide for their safety are cautioned to
still be aware and consider other protective measures. To determine protective
measures for yourself in your situation, you can contact Police, Victim Services
or a women’s shelter to discuss the particulars of your needs and seek
add, the period of separation is one of the most dangerous with regard to
matters of domestic violence. While you may be managing a separation issue in
Family Court, it is important to know that Family Court and Criminal Court are
two different entities that in Ontario and many other jurisdictions do not
communicate with each other. If there is an ongoing criminal matter or a
Protection Order brought through Criminal Court, you must inform the Family
Court of this yourself lest the Family Court inadvertently make an order that
conflicts with the Criminal Court order. Yes, this happens as odd as it may
oneself from a violent partner or former partner is at times a team effort. Your
team may include, family and friends. Consider also including police, a
women’s shelter (at least for guidance, support and information) and a family
law lawyer. You may also benefit from personal counseling. If you see a
counselor ask if the counselor has any experience or training in matters of
domestic violence and policies
as regards service in view of domestic violence. We want you as safe as
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Call Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques and workshops.
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