Different Types of Domestic Violence Protective Orders

In Ontario, there are two different types of protective orders a victim of domestic violence can seek: Restraining Orders and Peace Bonds. It is essential to understand the difference between these two, how they are obtained, and what they entail for the plaintiff, defendant, and any minor children the couple may share.

Restraining Orders

Restraining orders are issued following guidelines contained within the Family Law Act. There is a specific application process and procedure, which all are handled by the Family Law Courts. Anyone that has been the victim of domestic violence can seek a restraining order.

Obtaining a restraining order is not an easy process. The Family Law Courts want to make sure that the plaintiff’s claim of domestic violence is warranted and/or there is a risk of potential violence to any minor children.

In Ontario, the victim can request a restraining order through the appropriate Family Law Court without having to notify the defendant. If the court issues the restraining order, then the defendant must comply with all provisions of the order, including vacating the marital/cohab home. However, restraining orders are only enforceable in Ontario.

If the defendant violates the conditions of the restraining order, then they can be charged with a criminal offence. If convicted and found guilty, they could be sentenced to jail. Restraining orders can remain in effect indefinitely and often have to be removed by a judge in Family Law Court.

Peace Bonds

Peace bonds are issued following guideline contained within the Criminal Code of Canada. To apply for a peace bond, one just needs to visit their local courthouse. A judge will review your application and if they agree, the defendant will be notified and asked to sign the peace bond.

If they refuse, then a hearing is scheduled in front of the judge. After the hearing, if the judge still feels a peace bond is necessary, then the defendant must sign it. If not, they could be sentenced for up to one year in jail.

Peace bonds are normally valid for up to one year, but can be extended if the criminal courts feel it necessary. Peace bonds are enforceable nationwide in any province or territory. Violating the terms and conditions of a peace pond is a criminal offence.

As you can see, victims of domestic violence have a few options for obtaining a protective order. It is important to keep in mind, with ether type of protective order, they remain in effect until removed by a court of law.

For instance, if your spouse has a protective order against you, but tells you they changed their mind and to move back home, you cannot legally. If you were to move back home before having the order lifted, you could face further criminal charges.

If you have been charged with any types of domestic violence or violating a protective order, you need to get sound legal advice from Toronto criminal defence lawyer, Jeff Hershberg. Call my office at 416-428-7360 to arrange a consultation appointment today.