How to apply for a family law protection order
Who this guide is for
If you're in immediate danger, call 911.
If you don't have 911 service in your area, call the emergency number for the police or RCMP that's inside the front cover of your phone book.
You have the right to ask the police to help keep you safe.
This self-help guide is for you if you're afraid for your safety because:
- A family member (who lives with you) has:
- abused you,
- assaulted you,
- threatened to hurt you, or
- damaged or threatened to damage your property or harm pets.
- You need to protect yourself, your children, and/or another family member (who lives with you).
- You want a family law protection order to prevent the person from contacting you.
- You want to apply for the order quickly, without letting the person named in the order know what you're doing.
Although you might feel afraid and alone, there are trained people ready to help you wherever you live in BC. Before you apply for a protection order, take advantage of the emotional and practical support available for you. It's important to think carefully about your situation and make a safety plan. You can also get legal advice about what's best for you, as well as legal help with the steps needed to get a protection order.
For more information about who the law says is a "family member" in this situation, see the fact sheet Family law protection orders.
Understand the risk
It's very important to think about your future safety. A protection order may not control someone's behaviour. There may also be limits to what the police can do.
Be aware of which situations pose the most serious risk for future violence. It can be dangerous if you've recently separated, recently started a legal process, and/or the family member you want protection from has ever:
- threatened to harm you,
- threatened to harm himself,
- stalked you,
- acted with extreme jealousy,
- choked or tried to strangle you, and/or
- shown violence or neglect toward household pets.
Please get support and safety for yourself and your children (or other family members), if any of these situations apply to you. See the services below.
Help and support
For emotional help and practical support, call the services below. People at these organizations offer emotional and practical support and can help you make a safety plan. If you apply for a protection order, a lawyer or legal advocate can help you.
VictimLink BC is a province-wide telephone help line provided by the government. One phone number connects you to:
- crisis (victim service) workers
- emergency shelters
- support and counselling services
- settlement workers
- multicultural services
1-800-563-0808 (call no charge)
Battered Women's Support Services
604-687-1867 (Greater Vancouver)
1-855-687-1868 (call no charge, elsewhere in BC)
BC Society of Transition Houses
604-669-6943 (Greater Vancouver)
1-800-661-1040 (call no charge, elsewhere in BC)
Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC)
For local phone numbers for support and counselling, see the Victim Services in BC Directory (PDF).
If you're Aboriginal
There is community support available for Aboriginal people from:
What is abuse?
You can be abused in different ways. Abuse includes physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse. (Threats or stalking are examples of psychological abuse.) For more information about abuse and about protection orders, see:
- Live Safe — End Abuse fact sheets
- For Your Protection: Peace Bonds and Family Law Protection Orders (booklet)
- Surviving Relationship Violence and Abuse (booklet)
Go to: Before using this guide