If you find yourself in a situation where you feel the need to escape from an abusive spouse, you may be wondering what steps you’ll need to take. How can you protect yourself? Your children?
There are a few possible paths you can take depending on your situation.
Report to the Police
If you think your spouse poses an immediate danger to yourself or your children, call the police right away. The police will take certain steps to ensure that you and others around you stay safe, including recommending criminal charges, a Peace Bond, or that you seek a Protection Order. The police may also have your spouse ordered to pay a fine or be placed on probation.
Another thing the police can do to ensure your safety is to connect you to community services that can provide assistance. For instance, there are services that may be able to help you find temporary emergency shelter while you sort out a safe accommodation for yourself and your children.
Seek a Peace Bond
You can seek a Peace Bond under the Criminal Code if you are looking to get protection against an individual. Under a Peace Bond, your spouse will have to obey certain conditions (for example, not contacting you for a certain period of time). If they obey the conditions of the Peace Bond, they will not have a criminal record. However, if they do not obey the conditions, they may be sent to trial along with an additional charge of breaching the Peace Bond.
Apply for a Protection Order
You can apply for a Protection Order under the BC Family Law Act. A Protection Order lists a number of conditions that your spouse must obey, and can also require the police to remove your spouse from the home, escort them while they remove their personal property from the home, or seize their weapons. A Protection Order can also require your spouse to report to the court.
Apply for a Conduct Order
If you feel that your situation does not need to escalate to the point of requiring a Peace Bond or a Protection Order, you can apply for a Conduct Order, made under the Family Law Act. A Conduct Order is similar to a Protection Order in that it sets out rules and conditions for your spouse to follow, but where it differs is in the consequences of breaching the order. Unlike a Protection Order, if your spouse breaks the terms of a Conduct Order, you cannot immediately rely on the police to enforce it. Instead, you will have to apply to the court again to obtain another order.
If you are in an abusive relationship and are seeking legal advice or assistance in keeping yourself and your loved ones safe, consult Vancouver and Burnaby Family Law lawyer Andrew Rebane at Resolutions Law Corporation, Burnaby British Columbia at firstname.lastname@example.org or 778-372-7170.