Many abusers obey court orders but having them does not guarantee your safety. When a court order is disobeyed, charges can be laid. EVERY TIME A COURT ORDER IS DISOBEYED it should be reported to the police and written down. There is a time delay from when a court order is issued until it appears on the police computer (CPIC-Canadian Police Information Centre). When a court order is issued, it is important to check at the courthouse to ensure the necessary form has been completed and the process has been started for the court order to be put into the police computer. The time delay can mean that while a name has been put into the computer by an attending officer, there might not yet be further information on the court orders available. This could affect how the police respond to the situation.
These steps can be taken to enforce court orders:
- Check that the court order is on the police computer by calling the courthouse, police or your lawyer.
- Know the conditions of the order and make several copies
- Keep the order with you at all times. If you change your purse, the order is the first thing that should go in. Leave a copy of the order with the shelter and/or a family member and/or friend
- Give a copy of the order to the police department in your own town/city and in other towns/cities where you work or visit family and friends
- If your abuser disobeys the court order, call the police and report this and also contact your lawyer
- If the police do not help, you can call the police supervisor
- If the court order is lost or destroyed you can get another copy from your lawyer, the courthouse or from the friend or relative with whom you have left a copy
Write down each time your abuser disobeys a court order and include dates, times, places, names of witnesses, what was said and any other important details.
If your abuser does anything to repeatedly frighten you, call the police and he can be charged with criminal harassment. You can also call the shelter and receive support when you talk to the police.