Emergency Protection Orders (“EPOs”) provide immediate protection for an individual experiencing “family violence”. Family violence includes physical abuse, threats, intimidation, forced confinement, sexual abuse, stalking and coercive or controlling behaviour. Once the court grants an EPO, the police enforce it. An EPO is different than a restraining order (for information on restraining orders, see the Government of Alberta website.
EPOs are available whether you are going through a divorce, separation, or custody battle. They are also available for family members who are not separated but are experiencing family violence. They are available for couples that were married, adult interdependent partners (more generally known as “common law spouses”) and other types of family members.
An EPO will be granted when:
- Family violence has happened;
- Family violence will resume or continue; and
- Immediate protection is needed.
Typically, an EPO stops the violent individual from contacting you (or another person) and/or coming to your home/workplace/children’s school.
To obtain an EPO you can either apply to the Court yourself (or with the help of a lawyer) or contact police and they can sometimes seek an EPO on your behalf. Currently, EPOs are being granted via telephone applications – see link below.
You do not have to tell the violent individual that you are trying to get an EPO. The application is made “ex parte” which means that the other party is not given advance notice of the application. Because an EPO is granted on an ex parte basis, the court must also set a review date within 9 working days of the order being granted. This allows the other side the opportunity to appear and respond to the allegations made against them.
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
For more information on EPOs see:
We at SVR Family Lawyers are here to help you navigate this stressful and difficult time. We would be happy to explain the EPO process and help you determine whether you should apply for an EPO. Let us help.