Is your current or former partner harassing you after you have moved out, but you don’t want to call the police? Has this person threatened you, or menaced you about taking your child away from you, and the police tell you there is nothing they can do?
If you fear that your current or former partner might harm you or your children, you can ask the court for a restraining order in Canada.
A restraining order
A restraining order is a family court order to help protect the health and safety of you and your children. It can limit what someone can do, where someone can go, and who they can contact.
Conditions under a restraining order might say that a person cannot:
- Come within 500 metres of you and your children
- Come within 750 metres of your home and work
- Talk to or contact you or your children except through an agency or another person
- Attend at or near a place where you go regularly, for example: a residence, school, or place of employment
- Follow you if possessing a weapon, or any document relating to a weapon
A restraining order expires after one year unless the Court orders otherwise.
Not following the conditions in a restraining order is considered a crime.
Who can apply?
To get a restraining order, you need to go to a family court. In most cases, you can apply for the order against someone if at least one of these is true:
- You were married to the person
- You lived together with the person for any length of time
- You have a child with the person
The rules for a restraining order are the same if the person is the same sex or the opposite sex.
If none of these situations apply to you, you can think about going to criminal court to ask for a peace bond.
A peace bond
A peace bond is a criminal court order made by a judicial official (a justice of the peace or a provincial court judge) that requires a person to keep the peace and maintain good behaviour.
You can ask for a peace bond against anyone. It doesn’t have to be someone you were in a relationship with. For example, you could apply for a peace bond against a neighbour or co-worker.
Conditions of a peace bond may require that the person not:
- Contact or visit you, and/or a member of your family
- Come near your property
- Be within a certain distance of you and/or a member of your family
- Possess weapons
Conditions of a peace bond can be tailored to your specific situation and can be in place for up to one year. If you obtain a peace bond against someone, and they breach any conditions of the peace bond, they may be charged with committing a criminal offence.
Contact us for help
If you or your children have been or may in future be victims of family violence, our Family Law Team at HNPC will work with you to quickly get the help you need within the legal system.
The security of you and your children is our top priority.