As of July 1, 2006 the Family Violence Protection Act is law in Newfoundland and Labrador. This law provides for new justice system responses in the form of Emergency Protection Orders (EPOs) to help adult victims of family violence and their children in emergency situations.
This legislation fills a gap in the justice process for victims by providing for a broader range of more immediate responses than those available through the Criminal Code. All criminal justice responses to family violence will remain in place. The Family Violence Protection Act will provide additional responses.
This is a Court Order that the Provincial Court can grant in urgent situations to provide immediate protection when family violence has occurred. In this EPO, the Judge may place various restrictions on the respondent. The EPO is temporary with a maximum duration of 90 days. Judges will consider each application individually, so the actual duration of the EPO will vary from case to case (within this 90 day maximum limit). The EPO is meant to offer an immediate response and to provide time to put longer term plans in place. Because it is a short-term emergency response, an Emergency Protection Order cannot be extended or renewed.
No. If the police have evidence that a criminal offence has taken place, they will still lay criminal charges under the Criminal Code of Canada. Therefore, a criminal investigation, criminal charges and an application for an EPO may occur at the same time.
The Family Violence Protection Act is not intended to decriminalize family violence.
Because of its emergency nature, the EPO application is normally made by the police. This can happen on a 24-hour basis. Applications must be accompanied by sworn/affirmed documents and can only be made with the victim’s consent.
To be eligible to apply:
The legislation designates the following groups or individuals as being able to make applications:
Police may apply at a Provincial Court by fax any time or by fax or in person during regular Court hours.
Lawyers may apply at a Provincial Court by fax or in person during regular Court hours.
Direct Applicants/Victims must apply in person at Provincial Court during regular Court hours.
Normally, the judge will decide if an EPO will be granted within 24 hours of receiving the application.
Violation of an EPO is an offence and a first offence may result in a fine up to $2000, a jail term of up to 6 months or both. A second or additional offence may mean a fine up to $5000, a jail term up to 12 months or both.
Respondents may apply to Provincial Court within 10 days of receiving notice of the EPO if they wish to have the Judge review it. Respondents may also apply to have the EPO set aside. Applicants or respondents wishing to apply to vary or terminate the EPO may make an application to Provincial Court. Forms for these applications are available at Provincial Court.
No. An EPO is granted under provincial legislation. Since the EPO is not a criminal conviction, it will not result in a criminal record.