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{{REVIEWEDPLS | reviewer = [https://www.boydarbitration.ca/ JP Boyd, QC], Boyd Arbitration Chambers|date= March 2021}} {{Dial-A-Law TOC|expanded = relationships}}
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{{REVIEWEDPLS | reviewer = [https://www.boydarbitration.ca/ JP Boyd, QC], Boyd Arbitration Chambers|date= May 2021}} {{Dial-A-Law TOC|expanded = relationships}}
 
If you or someone you know is a victim of '''family violence''', there is help. You can get in touch with the police, community workers, the court system, or all of these resources as needed. Learn steps you can take to stay safe and protect yourself and your family.
 
If you or someone you know is a victim of '''family violence''', there is help. You can get in touch with the police, community workers, the court system, or all of these resources as needed. Learn steps you can take to stay safe and protect yourself and your family.
    
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
|align="left"|'''Alert!'''
 
|align="left"|'''Alert!'''
This information has been updated to reflect [https://dialalaw.peopleslawschool.ca/the-divorce-act-is-changing changes to the ''Divorce Act''] that took effect on March 1, 2021.
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This information has been updated to reflect [https://dialalaw.peopleslawschool.ca/the-divorce-act-is-changing changes to the ''Divorce Act''] that took effect on March 1, 2021, as well as [https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/enews/enews-27-04-2021 new Provincial Court Family Rules] that took effect on May 17, 2021.
 
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Going to a transition house, a safe house, or another emergency shelter won’t compromise your right to return home. The immediate priority, though, is your and your children’s safety.
 
Going to a transition house, a safe house, or another emergency shelter won’t compromise your right to return home. The immediate priority, though, is your and your children’s safety.
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In a moment, we highlight key community services that can help.
    
===If you aren’t in immediate danger===
 
===If you aren’t in immediate danger===
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{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
|align="left"|'''Tip'''
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|align="left"|'''Making a safety plan'''
 
Legal Aid BC has a [https://mylawbc.com/paths/abuse/ guided pathway] you can use to make a safety plan for yourself and your family.
 
Legal Aid BC has a [https://mylawbc.com/paths/abuse/ guided pathway] you can use to make a safety plan for yourself and your family.
 
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Most people charged with a crime don’t stay in jail after their arrest. They’re usually released on '''bail''', on conditions ordered by a judge. A condition might be, for example, that they have no contact with you. They’re not allowed to come to your home, work, or school. If they break their bail order, you can tell the police, who can arrest and charge them.
 
Most people charged with a crime don’t stay in jail after their arrest. They’re usually released on '''bail''', on conditions ordered by a judge. A condition might be, for example, that they have no contact with you. They’re not allowed to come to your home, work, or school. If they break their bail order, you can tell the police, who can arrest and charge them.
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If you and your children want to resume contact with your partner, or want to stop the criminal court process, you can. But you’ll need to talk to Crown counsel about changing the bail order conditions.
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If you and your children want to resume contact with your partner, or want to stop the criminal court process, you’ll need to first talk to Crown counsel about changing the bail order conditions.
    
====If there is a criminal trial====
 
====If there is a criminal trial====
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At trial, you’ll testify under oath or affirmation. That means telling the judge the truth about what happened.  
 
At trial, you’ll testify under oath or affirmation. That means telling the judge the truth about what happened.  
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If your partner is found guilty of assaulting or threatening you, they’ll be sentenced. If they have no prior criminal record, they probably won’t go to jail. Instead, they might be given a fine, or placed on probation with conditions such as to have no contact with you or to attend counselling.
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If your partner is found guilty of assaulting or threatening you, they’ll be sentenced. If they have no prior criminal record, they may not go to jail. Instead, they might be given a fine, or placed on probation with conditions such as to have no contact with you or to attend counselling.
    
===You can get a court order to protect yourself===
 
===You can get a court order to protect yourself===
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====Family law protection orders====
 
====Family law protection orders====
A '''protection order''' is another option to help you stay safe. It’s typically quicker and easier to get than a peace bond. (Sometimes you can get it on the same day.) You apply for this order in Provincial Court under the BC ''Family Law Act''. It can set out conditions your partner must follow. These might include:
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A '''protection order''' is another option to help you stay safe. It’s typically quicker and easier to get than a peace bond. (In Provincial Court, you may be able to get one on the same day.) You apply for this order under the BC ''Family Law Act''. It can set out conditions your partner must follow. These might include:
    
* how much, if any, contact they can have with you (and sometimes how they can communicate with you)
 
* how much, if any, contact they can have with you (and sometimes how they can communicate with you)
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Anyone at risk of family violence can apply for a family law protection order. You can apply on your own, or a lawyer can help you.  
 
Anyone at risk of family violence can apply for a family law protection order. You can apply on your own, or a lawyer can help you.  
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You can apply in either BC Supreme Court or Provincial Court (which is sometimes called Family Court). In Family Court, there are no filing fees, and you may find the paperwork easier. On the other hand, if you’re asking for a divorce or division of property, it might be more efficient to apply in Supreme Court.  
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If you’re afraid for your safety, you can apply for a protection order without having to notify your partner. You can apply in either BC Supreme Court or Provincial Court (which is sometimes called Family Court). In Family Court, there are no filing fees, and you may find the paperwork easier. On the other hand, if you’re also asking for a divorce or division of property, it might be more efficient to apply in Supreme Court.  
    
In either court, along with your request for protection, you’ll need to file an '''affidavit'''. In it, you describe what happened and what your concerns are. (This is a legal document; you must tell the truth.)
 
In either court, along with your request for protection, you’ll need to file an '''affidavit'''. In it, you describe what happened and what your concerns are. (This is a legal document; you must tell the truth.)
    
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
|align="left"|'''Tip'''
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|align="left"|'''Self-help guide'''
Legal Aid BC’s Family Law website has a [https://family.legalaid.bc.ca/abuse-family-violence/protecting-yourself-your-family/apply-family-law-protection-order#0 free step-by-step guide] for applying for a protection order in Provincial Court.  
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Legal Aid BC’s Family Law in BC website has a [https://family.legalaid.bc.ca/abuse-family-violence/protecting-yourself-your-family/apply-family-law-protection-order#0 free step-by-step guide] for applying for a protection order in Provincial Court.  
 
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===What if my partner ignores a protection order?===
 
===What if my partner ignores a protection order?===
If they do, and they continue to contact or harass you, they can be arrested. And charged with a criminal offence. They’ve breached the protection order. They may be brought before the court. They’ll only be released if the judge is satisfied they’re no longer a danger to you.
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If they do, and they continue to contact or harass you, they can be arrested. And charged with a criminal offence. They may be brought before the court. If they’re found to have breached the protection order, they can be fined, placed on probation, or put in jail.
    
==Who can help==
 
==Who can help==
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===With more information===
 
===With more information===
Legal Aid BC’s '''Family Law website''' includes extensive information on family violence.
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Legal Aid BC’s '''Family Law in BC website''' includes extensive information on family violence.
    
* [https://family.legalaid.bc.ca/abuse-family-violence Visit website]  
 
* [https://family.legalaid.bc.ca/abuse-family-violence Visit website]  
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