Emergency Protection Orders
The purpose of the EPO is safety for people who are experiencing family violence. When granted, the orders can last for up to 90 days. An emergency protection order may allow the applicant to stay in his or her home while ordering the abuser to stay away. It can also require the RCMP to take away any weapons the abusive person may have.
The Protection Against Family Violence Act gives men and women access to emergency protection orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. YWCA Yellowknife is a designate under the Act. In that capacity, YWCA staff at Alison McAteer House (family violence shelter) assist people to apply for an Emergency Protection Order. YWCA staff explain to clients what an EPO is and what it does. Staff then gather client information for the EPO application by asking questions about his or her current circumstances. Staff determine whether the situation described by the client falls within the legislation. YWCA Yellowknife doesn’t make any decisions about the validity of the application as this is role of the Justice of the Peace.
The Justice of the Peace reviews the application, and holds a mini court by phone, asks any questions of clarification, and then makes a decision about granting the EPO. The Justice of the Peace must be satisfied that family violence has occurred in order to grant the EPO.
Once granted, the Territorial Court must review the EPO within three working days. If the Court is not satisfied with the evidence, another hearing may be called. The respondent, when made aware an EPO has been granted, may also request a review.
Since the EPOs were made available five years ago, YWCA Yellowknife staff have helped with more than 400 applications.
In order to obtain help understanding Emergency Protection Orders or for information on how to apply for them, call toll-free: 1-866-223-7775 In Yellowknife: 873-8752
For more info on EPOs, see the Department of Justice website at http://www.justice.gov.nt.ca/FamilyViolence/FVPAExplained.shtml