How to make the system work for you

Laws
There are laws to protect you and your children from violence.

Access orders
Ontario's child protection laws protect children against physical, sexual and emotional harm. This conduct may also be a crime. If your child is a victim of abuse by the other parent, you can ask the court to deny that parent access or allow access only if it is supervised.

Restraining orders
A person who has been assaulted by his or her spouse/partner can ask the court to make a restraining order. The restraining order can be general - that your spouse/partner has to stay away from you - or it can be specific. It can say that your spouse/partner must not come to your home, to your place of work, to your children's school or to other places where you often go (for example, your place of worship or your parent's home).

The restraining order must be served on your spouse/partner as soon as possible but you do not have to serve it yourself. It's best to have someone else serve it for you. If that's not possible, the court will assist you. If your spouse/partner disobeys the restraining order, you can call the police. The police will want to see the restraining order. Keep it with you at all times. They may also ask you if your spouse/partner knows about the restraining order. If the police believe that your spouse/partner has disobeyed the restraining order, he or she can be arrested and charged with a crime.

Exclusive possession of the family home
The rules on exclusive possession of the family home apply only to married couples. If you are married, you can ask the court for the right to live in your home and to make your spouse leave. You have an equal right to stay in your home even if the home is in your spouse's name. Before a judge will order your spouse out of the home, the judge will consider if there was violence in the relationship, if there is another suitable place for you to live, if it is in the children's best interests to stay in their home, and your financial position.

If the judge agrees to an exclusive possession order, your spouse must move out and stay out of the house. If he or she tries to come in, you can call the police and he or she can be arrested.

Restraining orders and exclusive possession orders may not be enough to stop a violent person from hurting you. Your spouse/partner is already breaking the law by hitting you and may be prepared to break other laws by hurting you again.

If you are a woman in this situation, a women's shelter, in your community may be the safest place for you to live with your children for a while.

Help Links
Atikokan Crisis Centre Atikokan 1-800-465-3349
(807) 597-6908
Police   1-888-310-1122
Family & Children's Services Fort Frances 1-800-465-7764
(807) 274-7787
Community Legal Clinic Fort Frances
Atikokan
(807) 274-5327
(807) 597-2811
Hospitals Atikokan
Emo
Fort Frances
Rainy River
(807) 579-4215
(807) 274-3261
(807) 274-3261
(807) 274-3261
Victims Support Line   1-888-579-2888
Riverside Community Counselling Emo
Fort Frances
Rainy River
(807) 482-1442
(807) 274-4807
(807) 852-4462