Protection Against Domestic Violence

Governement of Alberta – November 2011

Family violence is complex, and the solutions to help protect victims and prevent further violence are varied.  When victims of family violence and vulnerable family members such as children require immediate protection, Alberta’s Protection Against Family Violence Act (PAFVA) is one means of helping ensure their safety.  Family violence is defined in PAFVA, however a common understanding of family violence often describes family violence as the abuse of power within relationships of family, trust or dependency that endangers the survival, security or well-being of another person.  It can take many forms including:

  • Spousal abuse
  • Senior abuse and neglect
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Parental abuse
  • Witnessing abuse of other family members

PAFVA has three key tools to enhance protection:

Emergency Protection Order (EPO) can:

  • order an abuser not to go places where the victim regularly goes
  • order an abuser not to communicate with the victim
  • allow the victim to stay in the home and order the abuser to leave
  • allow for other conditions necessary to protect the victim

There is no cost to get an Emergency Protection Order.  Victims, Children and Youth Services caseworkers and police can all apply for EPOs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Adult victims can apply for an EPO at provincial court.  An EPO must be reviewed in court no later than nine working days after it is granted.

Court of Queen’s Bench Protection Order

A Court of Queen’s Bench Protection Order covers the same things as an Emergency Protection Order and more.  It can:

  • order an abuser to reimburse the victim for loss of money resulting from family violence
  • determine who can temporarily possess personal property
  • order counselling for an abuser
  • authorize counselling for a child without the consent of the abuser

There is no cost to get a Court of Queen’s Bench Protection Order.  Adult victims can apply directly to Queen’s Bench for the order or in the case of an Emergency Protection Order it is always reviewed by Queen’s Bench.  A Court of Queen’s Bench Protection Order can be put in place for up to a year, and can later be extended for up to one more year.

Warrant Permitting Entry

A Warrant Permitting Entry allows a police officer to access a location named in the warrant to search for, assist, or examine a family member and, with their consent, remove the family member from the location for their safety.  Only police officers can apply for and use a Warrant Permitting Entry.

For full details of the Protection Against Family Violence Act see the complete guide at:

http://www.child.alberta.ca/home/documents/familyviolence/PAFVAGuide-Web.pdf

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