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The Journey Project




Family violence is any type of abuse or violence that occurs within a family. Family violence is always unacceptable and is often also illegal activity. Any of the following forms of abuse are examples of family violence:

Physical: hitting, kicking, pushing, and other forms of unwanted physical contact

Sexual: unwanted sexual activity including touching, fondling and sexual intercourse without consent, sexual harassment, sending or posting intimate images without consent, and other unwanted acts of a sexual nature

Emotional or Psychological: isolating, threatening, coercing, calling names, and other forms of harassment

Financial: Coercive Control

If you are the victim of family violence, there are several legal and non-legal resources available to help you. Options include:

  • Calling the police and pursuing criminal charges
  • Going to a shelter
  • Applying for a peace bond
  • Applying for an emergency protection order (EPO)
  • Consulting a lawyer

The Journey Project provides legal navigation, information, and support for people who have experienced any form of intimate partner violence or sexual violence. To find out more, visit The Journey Project website:

A peace bond is a court order that places specific conditions on a person’s behaviour. These conditions may include: to keep the peace; not to communicate with you in any manner; or not to possess a firearm.

There are two types of peace bond application that can be made:

  1. Applications because you fear another person may do you or your family some personal injury; and
  2. Applications because you fear another person may damage your property.
    Normally, all peace bond applications are made to the Provincial Court (Criminal Division). If you make an application to the court for a peace bond because of a family violence situation, the court may refer you to the police. Make sure to apply for the peace bond in the court closest to where the threatening events are happening.
    Application forms are available at any Provincial Court location or on the Provincial Court website. The telephone number and address for the Provincial Court serving your region can be found on the Provincial Court website under the “Contact” tab.
    Once an application is filled out and provided to the court, a summons must be served on the person named in your application. A summons is a document that tells a person when they must appear in court. You must also appear in court on that date. At that time, if the person named does not agree to the terms of a peace bond, then the matter will be scheduled for a hearing at a later date.
    At the peace bond hearing, you and your witnesses will testify. Make sure you bring any evidence you have which will support your case. The accused and his/her witnesses will also have an opportunity to testify. The Judge will decide, based on the evidence presented, whether a peace bond should be put in place.
    There is no fee to apply for a peace bond and the order can be put in place for up to twelve months. If the person ordered to follow the peace bond breaks a condition, you should immediately report it to the police. They may decide to lay a criminal charge. If the charge is proven in court, the punishment may include jail time.

If someone has summoned you to appear at a peace bond hearing, you should begin to prepare for your day in court. You must appear in court at the time stated in the summons. If you do not appear in court at the time on the summons, a warrant could be issued for your arrest . If no agreement is reached at the first hearing, you will need to make arguments to support your case at the next court date. You have the right to have a lawyer represent you at these hearings if you wish, but a lawyer is not required.

It is important for both parties to know that a judge will only grant a peace bond if the person applying for the bond has a reasonable belief that you will harm them, their property, or another person as stated in the bond application. You may want to present evidence that shows that you are unlikely to carry out the harm. It may also be helpful to summon witnesses who could testify in court in a way that supports your case.

If a peace bond is granted by a judge, you must sign it and obey its terms. While being ordered to sign a peace bond is not a criminal offence (and will not be added to a criminal record), failing to sign the peace bond is a criminal offence, punishable by up to twelve months imprisonment. Breaking the terms of a peace bond is also a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment.

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.


  • Exclusive temporary occupancy of the home for applicant
  • Police removal of respondent
  • Police accompaniment to remove personal belongings
  • Temporary possession or control of personal property for applicant (i.e., vehicle, medical cards, I.D. documents)
  • Police seizure of firearms/weapons from respondent
  • Temporary care and custody of child
  • Restrain respondent from further acts of family violence
  • Payment of rent or mortgage by respondent
  • Restrain respondent from terminating utilities
  • Any other condition the Court considers necessary to protect the applicant or property

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:
-a person must live or have lived with the respondent in a conjugal relationship (regardless of marital status and including same-sex couples)
-or a person must have one or more children with the respondent regardless of whether they have lived together

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.

Criminal Law