What is a protection order?

Last updated on June 21, 2021

A judge may make a family law protection order to protect one family member from another family member if there is a risk of violence. Orders are made under the Family Law Act.

Family violence includes:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional and psychological abuse
  • Forcibly confining a person or restricting the person’s freedom, or
  • Withholding the necessities of life

A protection order lists conditions the person named in it must follow. It will usually say your family member must have no direct or indirect contact with you.

The family law protection order is a civil order made in family court. It is a criminal offense for the person named in the order to disobey (“breach”) it. If they do so, the police can enforce the order under the Criminal Code and the individual may face significant consequences.

The court registry will draft the order made by a judge unless the judge instructs otherwise. It will send the order to the Protection Order Registry (POR). The POR records both the order and the proof it was served. Police forces across B.C. have access to the registry.

When a person named in a protection order was not in court when the order was made, the order must be formally delivered to (or “served on”) them so that they are aware of it. In those cases, the Ministry of Justice will work with you to have the order served.  In most cases, there is no cost to applicants for this service.

More Information

The Legal Aid BC's Abuse & Family Violence web pages explain how and when people can apply for peace bonds and family law protection orders. They also explains the differences between them.

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