Protection Orders: Get the Facts Before Hitting “Apply”

Protection Orders

Feeling harassed or threatened? Protection orders can be a powerful tool, but using them incorrectly can weaken their effectiveness for everyone. Let’s break down what they are when they work best, and their limitations.

What are Protection Orders?

Think of a protection order as a legal shield. Governed by the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) and Protection from Harassment Act (PHA), it prohibits someone (the respondent) from harassing or harming you in a specific way. This might include:

  • Contacting you directly or through others
  • Coming near your home or workplace
  • Damaging your property

Who Can Get a Protection Order?

The DVA applies to domestic relationships, including:

  • Spouses or partners (current or former)
  • People living together
  • Co-parents
  • Family members

If your relationship doesn’t fall under this category, the PHA might be more suitable.

Limitations to Consider:

Protection orders are for harassment and abuse, not everyday disagreements. Here’s where some people misuse them:

  • Blocking Legal Rights: Imagine a tenant facing eviction using a protection order to stop the landlord from following legal procedures. This is an abuse of the system.
  • Resolving Non-Harassment Issues: Child custody arguments or financial disputes are best settled through different legal avenues. A protection order won’t address these effectively.

The “Better Option” Clause:

Section 7(a) of the DVA allows courts to grant a temporary protection order while pointing you towards the appropriate legal solution. For example, if the issue is child support, the court might suggest child maintenance proceedings.

Spotting Misuse:

Here are some red flags that a protection order might not be the right solution:

  • You’re using it to stop someone from exercising their legal rights (like eviction).
  • You’re trying to settle a non-harassment issue (like a debt dispute).
  • The situation doesn’t involve fear of physical or emotional harm.

When Protection Orders Shine:

Protection orders effectively address genuine harassment and threats. Here’s when they can be most helpful:

  • You’re experiencing repeated unwanted contact (calls, texts, stalking)
  • You fear physical violence from someone you know
  • Your safety and well-being are genuinely at risk

Don’t Suffer in Silence:

No one deserves harassment or intimidation. The DVA and PHA provide essential protection for your dignity and safety. Using them correctly ensures they remain a powerful tool for those who truly need them.

Considering a Protection Order?

Contact us today! Our experienced team can assess your situation and guide you through the legal process. We can help you determine if a protection order is the right solution and ensure it’s used effectively.

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