Applying for a protection order in a civil matter
If you fear for your safety you are entitled to be protected against another person, even if that person has committed no crime. For this purpose you may apply to the court for a protection order in a civil matter.
A protection order is not the same as a recognizance to keep the peace, which you can obtain to prevent another person from:
- causing personal injury to you;
- causing personal injury to your spouse or child;
- damaging your property;
- damaging your land or home;
- distributing, without your consent, private content (videos, photographs, etc.).
You can apply to the court for a protection order if you consider that a person represents a threat to:
- your physical or mental health;
- your safety;
- your life.
The protection order requires the person to:
- cease threatening behaviour such as harassment, intimidation or psychological violence;
- refrain from certain actions, such as asking you for money or attempting to force you to marry;
- comply with any conditions imposed by the court for your protection, such as being accompanied by a third person during visits.
You can obtain a protection order without filing a complaint with the police. This means that you can obtain protection even if:
- no crime has been committed;
- a crime has been committed but the evidence is considered insufficient.
Conditions included in the protection order
In some cases, a protection order may include conditions. For example, the court may order the person who poses a threat to you to:
- give up any weapons to the police;
- not contact you;
- not give information about you to a third party;
- stay away from your home or places you frequent, such as your place of work.
The court may also require the person to return something to you, or allow you to recover your personal effects. If you are housed in an institution such as a home for the elderly, the court may require the person to visit you only during the hours specified by the institution, under the supervision of a staff member.
You may apply for a protection order, whatever your age, if you believe that your life, health or safety are threatened by another person.
An organization or a third person may apply for a protection order on your behalf, with your consent or with authorization from the court.
To apply for a protection order, you must file an application at the office of the Superior Court in which you show that your life, health or safety is threatened.
You can obtain a protection order in a civil matter quickly. In addition, it may be delivered by the court in an emergency.
You can also ask the court for an interim protection order, valid while the court is processing your application.
The protection order is valid for the time set by the court.
The maximum term is 3 years.
However, if you make an emergency application, it will be valid for 10 days.
Failure to comply with a protection order
If the person targeted by the protection order fails to comply with it, he or she may be found guilty of contempt of court.
The person may then be sentenced to:
- a fine;
- community work;
- imprisonment of one year or less.