Covid-19 and Domestic Violence
These are unprecedented times for all Albertans. People are doing all they can to protect themselves, their loved ones and their neighbours. For most, this means confining themselves to their homes and limited outside exposure to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, this arrangement can come with certain dangers for those experiencing forms of domestic violence, whether this is physical, emotional or mental abuse, as people are now together virtually 24/7. Anxiety, fear and panic can become a state of life for many in a household.
As you are well aware, several stress factors are hitting all families right now. These factors often escalate existing violence or abuse, where the situation can become quite explosive and dangerous.
For immediate assistance, and to access someone to guide you, should you require help or know of someone who does, please contact one of the following:
- Call 911 if you or some you know is in immediate danger.
- There is a 24 hour Family Violence Information Line at 310-1818 to get anonymous help in over 170 languages.
- Children’s Services will respond to cases throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Call 1-800-387-KIDS (5437) to report.
- Odyssey House in Grande Prairie has a 24-hour Crisis Line at 780-532-2672
In response to the pandemic, both the Provincial Court of Alberta and Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta have ceased hearing cases regularly. The partial closure of the Courts means that most applications will not be able to be heard until at least the end of May 2020. However, the Provincial Court of Alberta and Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta are both hearing emergency family matters. Matters deemed emergent are:
- Orders where there is a risk of violence or immediate harm to one of the parties or a child.
- Orders where there is a risk of removal of a child from the jurisdiction.
- Emergency Protection Order reviews
- Child Apprehension Orders, as required by PCJ or JP
If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, there are current and immediate options available through the court system. Applications can be made for new protection or restraining orders, as well as an application if there is a risk of removal/loss of children or the expiration of an existing protection or restraining order.
If you require any further information or assistance on the process or what you can do to protect yourself or your loved ones, please contact Gurevitch Burnham Law Office at 780-539-3710 or https://www.grandeprairielaw.ca/
While governments, medical and the scientific areas are unable to provide any reliable modelling as to when we can expect to see relief from the COVID-19 social distancing requirements, it is vital to check in on friends and family, especially those where you have concerns. Make sure everyone knows that there are avenues for help and that they are not alone. Most importantly, stay safe and stay healthy.